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Woman who colorized ‘Grace’ photo dies at 95

BOVEY, Minn. (AP) – 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.

Nyberg died Tuesday at a nursing home near Proctor.

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

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

“She brought color into the photos before there was color photography,” said Mayerle, who remembers her mother having photos strewn across the dining room table during her childhood.

Nyberg didn’t just color her father’s photography and graduation and wedding photos. She painted originals of flowers, landscapes and other subjects in watercolor and oil at her Bass Lake home near Bovey.

“I thought all mothers painted all day,” Mayerle said.

Nyberg’s coloring was used on the prints by Augsburg Publishing, which bought the rights to “Grace” in the early 1950s, according to her son, Kent Nyberg.

The colored version of the photo was designated the official picture of the state of Minnesota in 2002.

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