Paul Sawyier

Artist Biography

According to legend, a young Paul Sawyier received the following advice from his teacher William Merritt Chase: “Be yourself Paul––be your individual self.” Sawyier, one of Kentucky’s most beloved painters, took the instruction to heart. An independent spirit, he chose to spurn the cosmopolitan lifestyle of many artists to create impressionistic landscapes of Kentucky following his study with Thomas Noble, Frank Duveneck, and Chase. The Kentuckian was unwilling to compromise his artistic vision, which typically focused on nostalgic vistas along the banks of the Kentucky River (he lived on a houseboat for a period starting in 1908) and his hometown, Frankfort. In 1913 Sawyier moved to Brooklyn; there, he created landscapes of New York’s parks and waterways, while continuing to paint Kentucky views using his photography collection. The artist died in 1917, just three years following the death of his childhood sweetheart. His impressionistic works can now be seen in the University of Kentucky Art Museum.

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