This January at Clars we are pleased to offer two paintings by American Impressionist, Paul Sawyier.
Sawyier was born in Ohio in 1865 and raised in Frankfort, Kentucky. He traveled first to The McMicken School of Design (now the Art Academy of Cincinnati) to study under Frank Duveneck, and later to New York to study under William Merritt Chase at the Arts Students League of New York.
Early in his career, Sawyier excelled in portraiture, painting the likenesses of well-known figures in his community. Although he sometimes included figures in his subsequent paintings, they mostly focused on rural landscapes. Known primarily for his watercolor depictions of scenery in Kentucky and New York, Sawyier gained enough recognition in art circles to exhibit work at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
After his professional painting career ended, Sawyier retired to a houseboat in the New York Catskills. He was known to paint in the area en plein air, both in oils and watercolor. Sawyier is notable not only for being one of the only painters from Kentucky working in the Impressionist style during the turn of the century, but also for his ability to capture the atmosphere and tranquility of his surroundings. Although distinctly impressionistic, Sawyier’s work does retain aspects of Realism and Romanticism, perhaps preserved from his years studying in arts academies. Sawyier remains one of Kentucky’s most celebrated artists, and his work is collected in several large museums nationwide.