Northern Kentucky University will celebrate the works of Paul Sawyier, a Kentucky son and one of America’s great impressionist painters, with “Kentucky Impressions: Paul Sawyier Original Works,” an exhibit of original Sawyier paintings, through Dec. 7 in the Schlachter University Archives and the Eva G. Farris Reading Room in NKU’s W. Frank Steely Library.
Sawyier is one of the commonwealth’s most popular and recognizable painters, whose work can be found in the Old Governor’s Mansion and the Executive Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort, the Kentucky Historical Society and Liberty Hall Historic Site. In what promises to be one of the largest exhibits of the artist’s work, visitors can see samples of Sawyier’s portraits, landscapes and scenes from Kentucky and New York.
“The NKU exhibition of Paul Sawyier originals will be the most significant display of his works in recent times,” said William Coffey, president of Paul Sawyier Galleries in Frankfort, who helped to coordinate the event. “It will include over 60 of Sawyier’s very best oils and watercolors, many of which have never been displayed and some of which are his most popular paintings.”
Collectors spanning the east coast have lent their paintings to this collection to help visitors better understand the life of the painter, who sold more than 3,000 originals throughout his career and studied with famous artists such as Covington’s Frank Duveneck, Thomas S. Noble and William Merritt Chase.
Sawyier began his career in the Greater Cincinnati area, studying portraiture at the Cincinnati Art Academy. After studying under Chase in New York, he returned to Covington to work with Duveneck. Sawyier began painting scenes of his Frankfort hometown after seeing an Impressionist exhibit at the Chicago’s World Fair Colombian Exhibition.
He supported his family through his art and comforted himself after the loss of his mother by spending five years living out of a houseboat traveling the Kentucky River, painting scenes along the way. After exhausting the landscape in his area of Kentucky, Sawyier moved in with his widowed sister in New York City and switched from watercolor to oil. He painted parks and waterways before moving upstate.
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is the title sponsor for the exhibit, and the Northern Kentucky University Foundation Inc. and Mark and Rosemary Schlachter are presenting sponsors. The exhibit also will be a part of the Presidential Installation events on Oct. 26.
The exhibit is available in the Schlachter University Archives (Steely Library first floor) Monday through Friday (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and Saturday and Sunday (1-5 p.m.); as well as the Eva G. Farris Reading Room (Steely Library second floor) Monday through Thursday (7:30 a.m. to midnight), Friday (7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), Saturday (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday (12:30 p.m. to midnight). Steely Library has reduced hours Oct. 14-16 and Nov. 21, and is closed Nov. 6 and Nov. 22-24.