James Roman Andrus (1907-1993) was born in St. George, Utah, on July 11, 1907, the son of Alexander (A.B.) and Rozilla Brooks Andrus. On July 3, 1933 he married Irva Pratt and their marriage was solemnized in the St. George LDS Temple on May 6, 1939. The couple had five children.
In 1940, Andrus came to BYU as a member of the Visual Arts Faculty, under the direction of B. F. Larsen and President Franklin S. Harris. He was an instructor of Painting from 1940-1943. During his time as an instructor, he completed both a bachelor's and a master's degree in art in 1942 and '43.
In 1943, Roman left BYU to study at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. He then attended the Arts Students League in New York and the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, but returned to BYU in 1950 as an assistant professor of Painting and Printmaking from 1950-1953. In 1958, he completed his doctoral degree in Education at the University of Colorado, after which BYU awarded him a full professorship, a position he held from 1958-1972. During his career at BYU, he founded the university's printmaking department, served as the Art Department chair, and helped to develop the art program more fully. His philosophy was that art is precious and should include the unusual and the beautiful.
Andrus explored several mediums in his works, such as, lithography, woodcut, and oil. Although he is best remembered for his expressionistic landscapes, he also painted numerous portraits throughout his career. His work was displayed at BYU from 1940-1942 and also at the Springville Museum of Art from 1939-1946. More of his work is found in public and private collections throughout the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
As an artist, he was the chairman of the Pacific Arts Association National Headquarters Committee, a member of the Utah State Institute of Fine Arts and other arts organizations. Throughout his career, Andrus garnered multiple creative and teaching awards, including membership in the BYU Emeritus Club, the Special Recognition Award in 1987, and the Honored Alumnus award from the College of Fine Arts and Communications in 1992.
Andrus and his wife served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to New Zealand, where he served as a counselor in the Temple Presidency.
On June 23, 1993, Dr. Andrus passed away in Provo, Utah, at the age of 85.
- Images by J. Roman Andrus held by the BYU Museum of Art
- BYU Studies - J. Roman Andrus: Extending the Senses (vol. 31:3)
- The Deseret News - James Roman Andrus (26 June 1993)
- Google Books, Utah Art Artists: 150 Years Survey, "J. Roman Andrus"
- University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library, J. Roman Andrus
- Springville Museum of Art Biography