Iconic Friberg painting part of Glenn Beck's historical exhibit

- SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Preparations are underway for the “Independence through History” exhibit at the Grand America Hotel featuring artifacts such as Arnold Friberg’s original painting of “Prayer at Valley Forge.”

The artwork was set up for display Tuesday by the Arnold Friberg Foundation as one of the crown jewels of the event.

Glenn Beck has curated exhibit for Independence Week with the help of collectors and historians around the country. The three-day exhibit, starting Wednesday, will be followed by Beck’s Man in the Moon event at Usana Amphitheater on Saturday.

ABC 4 Utah got a sneak peek of the incredible pieces of history on display.

Pastor Greg Johnson with the Friberg Foundation said “Prayer at Valley Forge” speaks to the importance of faith in American history.

“It’s a living testimony to the character and to the faith of our nation,” Johnson said.

The original painting was last seen in Utah during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Most recently it was on display at Mount Vernon, President George Washington’s plantation home.

It took a five men crew to unload the $12 million painting and set it up on a wood foundation.

“It’s a powerful and magnificent painting,” Carolyn Dominy, Friberg’s daughter-in-law, said. “It’s wonderful to see.”

Friberg’s family said he wanted to capture Washington’s prayer in a desperate hour, a reason he chose to clench Washington’s hands.

“It is a moving picture because it speaks that this country really was founded by people of faith, not a generic faith, but in the faith of the God of the bible,” Johnson said.

That is why Beck wanted the picture as part of his exhibit. He decided to put on the show because he said our current generation does not know our own history.

For Beck, “Prayer at Valley Forge” is spiritual as well as iconic. The painting is important to him because of how we know the moment is true. A British soldier saw Washington in prayer.

“That guy who was hiding in the trees that was against [Washington] went back home and said, ‘We’re on the wrong side’,” Beck said.

Beck believes America’s current generation has missed that message of faith and in order to fix it he said we have to recognize as a nation that we have gone astray.

The painting will be one of the final pieces of the exhibit. ABC 4 Utah will have more information on the artifacts throughout the week.

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