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UK Art Museum features work of celebrated Kentucky impressionist Paul Sawyier through March 20


Although he was born across the Ohio River, it was the Commonwealth’s beautiful landscape that became the beloved subject of impressionist Paul Sawyier’s career. A free public exhibition of Sawyier’s watercolors drawn from the museum’s collection at the University of Kentucky Art Museum is now on display.

“Paul Sawyier is always one of Kentucky’s favorite artists, but in the midst of bleak winter days, it’s even more rewarding to come in and see his scenes of lazy summer afternoons along the Elkhorn Creek or Kentucky River. It gives us all something to look forward to,” said Janie Welker, UK Art Museum curator.

Paul Sawyier’s “Beyond the Hill” features the “singing bridge” in his hometown of Frankfort. (Image from UK Now)

Deep roots in Kentucky have made Sawyier one of the state’s favorite artists. This exhibition features the atmospheric watercolors he made in and around his Frankfort home, as well as other well-known locales in the region. Many will be familiar to viewers today.

Sawyier often revisited his favorite Frankfort subjects: the dappled shade of Louisville Hill in summer; the “singing bridge,” steeples of the county and federal courthouses, and Good Shepherd Church, viewed from the vantage point of the Frankfort City Cemetery; and the graceful architecture of the Old Capitol building.

Sawyier was raised in the state’s capital from 5 years old and began his career as an artist in his beloved hometown. He often lived and worked on a houseboat on the Kentucky River between 1908 and 1913, frequently mooring at Shakertown or Camp Nelson, although he navigated the river to many sites. Sawyier and his love, Mayme Bull, often went canoeing on the river or the Elkhorn Creek east of Frankfort.

Even after Sawyier moved to Brooklyn in 1913 to try to sell more work, he painted well-loved Kentucky scenes based on sketches he brought with him.

This exhibition will be on display through March 20.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, UK Art Museum requires all visitors to pre-register for timed appointments to view exhibits. Complete COVID-19 protocols and reservation information is available online at www.eventbrite.com

From UK Now


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