Art collection worth $250,000 donated to U of U library

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah art enthusiasts and historians alike may now be putting the library at the University of Utah on their to-visit list.

Thirteen over-sized, hand-colored prints by American Artist John James Audubon were donated to the school’s J. Willard Marriott Library.

“It has a vitality that’s rare,” said Todd Samuelson, the assistant director of special collections at the library.

The collection is valued at about $250,000.

“It represents a great artistic and scientific venture from the early to mid-19th century,” Samuelson said.

Samuelson said the pieces represent a great deal of effort from the artist.

“A very expensive and time-consuming process, with a great deal of skill involved, but also a great contribution that gathered a lot of interest,” he said.

Twelve of the works depict mammals, while another is from Audubon's book.

“Birds of America is one of the most famous books ever printed, and, up until recently, the most highly valued book ever sold at auction,” Samuelson said.

These precious pieces donated by Lonnie and Shannon Paulos can be found on the library’s fourth floor in the special collections reading room. And that’s not all you’ll find there.

"Things like other additions of Audubon, other works of Charles Darwin,” Samuelson said.

Samuelson said the pieces offer folks a glimpse into the past.

“I think that being able to hold a book from this period gives you a better connection with the past than almost anything else that you can do,” Samuelson said.