Rhoda Nyberg, 95; artist added color to ‘Grace’ photo

Duluth News Tribune/file 2003
Rhoda Nyberg and her brother Warren Enstrom with a copy of the famous photo taken by their father.

BOVEY, Minn. - The artist who hand-colored “Grace,’’ a photo showing a white-bearded man bowed in prayer before a simple meal, has died at age 95.

Eric Enstrom took the photo, displayed in homes and churches nationwide, at his studio in Bovey, Minn., in 1918. Enstrom’s daughter, Rhoda Nyberg, brought the photo to life and widespread distribution with her colorization. Ms. Nyberg died last Tuesday at a nursing home.

She was born above her father’s photography studio a year before he took the familiar photograph. After college and a stint working at Minnesota Woolen, Ms. Nyberg returned to her father’s photo studio and began coloring black-and-white photos with heavy oil.


Ms. Nyberg’s daughter, Kris Mayerle, said her mother’s painting preceded the introduction of color photography.

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“She brought color into the photos before there was color photography,’’ said Mayerle.

Ms. Nyberg’s coloring was used on the prints by Augsburg Publishing, which bought the rights to “Grace’’ in the 1950s, according to her son, Kent. The colored version of the photo was designated the official picture of the state of Minnesota in 2002.