Thursday, March 23, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: March 23, 1865 - Paul Sawyier


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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Paul Sawyier, painter, son of Nathaniel J. and Ellen (Wingate) Sawyier, was born on March 23, 1865, at Table Rock Farm in Madison County, Ohio. His father and other family members were amateur artists; his sister Natalie became a professional painter. In 1870 the family moved to Frankfort, Kentucky, the childhood home of both Sawyier's parents. There Sawyier attended Second Street Elementary School and the Dudley Institute, an Episcopal school. His father employed Elizabeth Hutchins, a Cincinnati artist, to give art lessons to his children.

In 1884-85 Sawyier attended the Cincinnati Art Academy, where he studied under Kentucky artist Thomas S. Noble . During 1885-86 Sawyier supported himself with his portraits in crayon. In August 1886, at the request of his father, he returned to Frankfort to work as a hemp salesman for the Kentucky River Mill. By the spring of 1887, Sawyier had left this job to paint river scenes and landscapes around the capital. During 1887-88 he made six copperplate etchings of a Frankfort landmark, the Old Covered Bridge series. The prints became very popular when the old bridge was closed in December 1893.

In the fall of 1889, Sawyier moved to New York City, where he lived with his sister Lillian and her family. He enrolled in the Arts Students League under the tutelage of William Merritt Chase, studying watercolor. In 1890 he returned to Cincinnati to study under Kentucky artist Frank Duveneck, a well- known portrait painter in oils. The next year Sawyier moved to Frankfort, where he concentrated on landscape painting, including views of the Kentucky River and its tributaries Benson and Elkhorn creeks, in a variety of media -- pastels, oil, copperplate etchings, and his favorite, watercolor. Sawyier relied heavily on the use of photographs as models, and he shared a studio with the photographer Henry G. Mattern.

In 1908 Sawyier bought a houseboat on the Kentucky River , which served as both his studio and his home while he traveled the river, stopping along the way to work at various places, including Highbridge and Camp Nelson in Jessamine County. He visited Frankfort , Lexington, Danville, and Cincinnati to sell his works. In the fall of 1913, Sawyier moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he again lived with his sister. In 1914 he was commissioned to paint for New York art dealer Edward Jackson. He moved to High Mount, New York, in the Catskill Mountains in 1915 and in 1916 to neighboring Fleischmann, New York.

Sawyier's work are best known in the state of Kentucky. Most of his paintings and etchings are not dated, and because he kept no diary it has been almost impossible to date them. Some of his most popular prints are Wapping Street Fountain, The Old Capitol, Winter In Kentucky, A Rainy Day In Frankfort, Kentucky River Scene, Kentucky Arsenal, and Old Covered Bridge. Sawyier died on November 5, 1917, and was buried in Fleischmann, New York. His remains were moved to Frankfort Cemetery in June 1923.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Jones, Arthur Frederick. The Art of Paul Sawyier. Lexington: U of Kentucky, 1976. Print.
ND237.S34 J66 1976, Fine Arts Library

Coffey, William Donald. Paul Sawyier, Kentucky Artist : An Historical Chronology of His Life, Art, Friends and times from Old Frankfort to the Catskills. 1st ed. Frankfort, KY: Frankfort Heritage, 2010. Print.
ND237.S34 C64 2010, Special Collections Research Center - Room 019, Section 1-Shelf 1-Tray 3

Sawyier, Paul. Paul Sawyier Letters, 1910-1916. (1910). Print.
52M48, Special Collections Research Center - Manuscript Vertical Files

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