Conan E. Mathews

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Conan Eugene Mathews (1905-1972) was born on September 19, 1905 in Providence, Utah. He attended Utah State Agricultural College, California School of Fine Arts, University of California, University of Denver, and Columbia University. He also studied under Hans Hofmann at UC Berkeley. He received a Bachelors degree from the College of Idaho and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Utah.

Mathews taught at the California School of Fine Arts and served as associate professor of art at the College of Idaho. He was also the head of the Art Department and Academic Dean of Boise Junior College.

Mathews succeeded J.R. Andrus as the chair of the BYU Department of Art in 1954, and served until 1960. He later served as Dean of the College of Fine Arts from 1959 to 1966. A painter and art historian, Mathews brought high professional skills and a deep regard for individual integrity to the position. His prior leadership experience helped him to prepare for this role. Mathews was instrumental in acquiring a permanent art collection for the University, including paintings by Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt.
Conan Mathews, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications from 1959 to 1966, examines part of the Mahonri Young Art collection. There are more than 8,000 pieces in the collection, including sculpture, oil paintings, water colors, drawings, sketch books, prints, and casts.

The Harris Fine Arts Center was constructed during Mathews' tenure as dean and proved pivotal to the subsequent development of the College of Fine Arts. Additionally, in 1963, the Department of Communications joined the College of Fine Arts and the college was renamed to the College of Fine Arts and Communications.

He served as dean until 1966, when he retired because of illness, and was succeeded by Clawson Cannon. Mathews passed away in October 1972.



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Mountain landscape.JPG Rugged rise -7.JPG Cache valley.JPG Wasatch front.JPG Mountain passage.JPG Southern UT cliffs.JPG Rimrock.JPG Mathews, Early Moon, c. 1960.jpg


  • Wilkinson, Ernest Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years Brigham Young University Press, 1976.
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