Arnold Friberg – Honourable Member of the RCMP

Arnold Friberg's RCMP painting





Veteran Ric Hall sent us this bit of information for the information of our Association members and that of currently serving members.






Photograph of Arnold Friberg – Honorary Member of the RCMP

Famed American painter and illustrator Arnold Friberg died at age 96. He lived in Utah for nearly 60 years. Friberg passed away July 01, 2010, following hip replacement surgery. The illustrator and painter was known for his religious and patriotic works. Among his most famous pieces is the 1975 painting “The Prayer at Valley Forge,” a depiction of George Washington praying at Valley Forge.

Arnold Friberg, was the son of Scandinavian immigrants, who was born on December 21, 1913 in Winnetka, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. At the age of 3 Arnold moved to Arizona with his sister, Gertrude, and his parents. Friberg studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and was a nationally-recognized illustrator when he moved from San Francisco to Salt Lake City in 1949.

Those paintings drew the attention of a man working for Hollywood’s greatest director, Cecile B. DeMille, who was preparing to film “The Ten Commandments.”

One look and DeMille hired Friberg to paint key film scenes and provided him with a home in Hollywood. Friberg’s breathtaking creation of the parting of the Red Sea was filmed for the movie. DeMille made Friberg the film’s art director, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for costume design.

Photograph of Arnold Friberg using himself as a model for one of his paintings = “Companions of the Trail.”posing to create

Photograph of Arnold Friberg’s painting of “Companions of the Trail.”

Arnold Friberg learned to paint horses when he began painting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the late 1930’s for the Northwest Paper Company Calendars.  For over 50 years, the famed Royal Canadian Mounted Police has served as the symbol for the printing paper produced by the Northwest Paper division of Potlatch Corporation.

It began in the early days of the Great Depression, when the then-struggling Minnesota Paper Company sought an advertising theme that would establish its product as strong, dependable, and consistently able to do the job well.

Beginning in 1931, Northwest Paper Company commissioned nearly 400 paintings and illustrations, in watercolor, oil and line drawings, which were used to merchandise the company’s printing papers. The illustrations of the RCMP in their distinctive red serge uniforms were an instant advertising success.

In all, 16 artists painted Mountie illustrations for Northwest Paper from 1931 until 1970, when it was determined the collection was large enough to meet the company’s future marketing needs.

The most prolific and best known of this group is Arnold Friberg. Although most of his works were in oil, Friberg’s first work for the company in 1937 was in watercolor. Over the next 33 years, he sold paintings or reproduction rights on 208 Mountie subjects to Northwest Paper.- CHECK OUT RCMP IMAGES CREATED BY ARNOLD FRIBERG IN ASSOCIATION WITH NORTHWEST PAPER DIVISION HERE.

He has done almost 300 Mountie paintings, which has earned him a special place among members of the Force. He is the only American who has ever been made an honourary member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 1978 as a result of his work with the Mounties, he was commissioned to do an almost life-size portrait of H.R.H. Prince Charles with his great horse “Centenial“, the great-grandson of Man-O-War, which the Force had given to the Queen in 1973 during the Force’s Centennial year. This was done at a studio in the Buckingham Palace. Then in 1990, Mr. Friberg and his wife were invited back to spend another six weeks residing in Buckingham Palace in diligent preparatory sittings and studies for his commissioned undertaking of a splendid equestrian portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and “Centenial”.   (Note: When presented with “Centenial” in 1973, he was named “Centennial” for some unknown reason the Queen changed it to “Centenial” with one “n” not two….Royal prerogative I guess.)

Arnold Friberg’s paint of Queen Elizabeth II on RCMP horse “Centenial.”

Many members and detachments over the years have acquired Friberg prints depicting a jut jawed Mountie with broad shoulders and a narrow waist.

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage


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