Saturday, February 4, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: February 4, 1808 - Oliver Frazer

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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Oliver Frazer, portraitist, was born on February 4, 1808, in Fayette County , Kentucky, to Alexander and Nancy (Oliver) Frazer. In 1825 he left school to study art with Matthew Harris Jouett . After Jouett died in 1827, Frazer left Kentucky for Philadelphia, becoming a pupil of Thomas Sully. Around 1830 Frazer returned to Lexington to begin work as a portrait painter. Frazer sailed for France in May 1834 to study the Old Masters; he studied painting in Paris under Thomas Couture and Baron Antoine-Jean Gros. During 1835-36 Frazer visited major museums in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and England. Returning to Lexington in 1838, he opened a portrait studio at 12 East Main Street. During the next few years, Frazer painted portraits of Mrs. Henry Clay, Jr. (Julia Prather), Richard H. Menefee, Joel T. Hart, Waller Bullock Redd, Col. William Robertson McKee, and other notable Kentuckians. Four portraits of Henry Clay are known to be the work of Frazer, including the well-known likeness of the aging statesman ca. 1851.

In 1838 Frazer married Martha Bell Mitchell of Lexington, niece of Mrs. Matthew Jouett. They lived in a small house on Georgetown Road in Fayette County for the first few years of their marriage. In the late 1850s they moved into nearby Eothan (now Malvern Hill), built by the Rev. James Moore. Failing eyesight in his later years forced Frazer to cease painting. He died on April 9, 1864, and was buried in the Lexington Cemetery.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Floyd, William Barrow. Jouett-Bush-Frazer: Early Kentucky Artists. Lexington, Ky., 1968. Print.
ND236 .F5, Young Library – Reference

Floyd, William Barrow. Jouett, Bush, and Frazer : An Historical and Stylistic Analysis. Lexington, Ky.: [s.n.], 1967. Print.
Theses 1967, Young Library - Theses 5th Floor Rotunda

Price, Samuel Woodson. The Old Masters of the Bluegrass Jouett, Bush, Grimes, Frazer, Morgan, Hart. Louisville, Ky.: J.P. Morton, 1902. Print. Filson Club Publications ; No. 17.


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