MIDLAND PARK, NJ.- When a lovely painting by the mysterious American artist Paul Sawyier (1865-1917) turns up, it is usually a watercolor capturing the long lost history of rural Kentucky. However, just four years before his death, this talented artist, a student of the renowned American Impressionist William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League, began painting oils in Brooklyn, New York. Recently, New Jersey art brokers Les and Sue Fox discovered "Vale Of Cashmere, Prospect Park Brooklyn", a small gem in original, untouched condition, and they were surprised and delighted.
"Vale Of Cashmere" was privately owned by a New Jersey family for decades and has not been seen by art enthusiasts for nearly a century. The painting is only 14 inches high by 17 inches wide, yet it is as beautiful and mysterious as the artist himself. It bears the distinctive signature of Paul Sawyier in the lower left corner, and is accompanied by an early 20th century hand-written label identifying the location and the painter. When this painting is sold at auction by Shannons in Milford, Connecticut on April 28th, it is expected to bring $12,000 to $18,000 but could bring more since the artist's record price at auction is $63,000.
Paul Sawyier, the son of a doctor and a pianist, was born on his grandfather's farm in Table Rock, Ohio. At age five, the family moved with their four children to Broadway, Street in Frankfort, Kentucky. In 1887, Paul met Mary "Mayme" Bull, the love of his life, and they became engaged. Due to sick parents, the two sweethearts postponed their marriage, and sadly they never married. In 1893, Sawyier's work was exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair. When his mother died in 1908, Sawyier began living on a houseboat, painting scenes along the Kentucky River from 1908 to 1913. He lived with his sister, Lillian, in Brooklyn, from 1913 to 1915, often painting in Brooklyn Parks. In 1914, Mayme Bull died unexpectedly, and Paul Sawyer was broken hearted. From 1915 to 1917, Sawyier painted in the New York Catskills, living with friends in Highmount, N.Y. and then Fleishmanns, N.Y., where he died of a heart attack on November 5, 1917. Little is known of Sawyier's romantic relationship because his sister burned all of the couple's love letters.
Prospect Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the creator of Central Park, and is located near Park Slope and the Brooklyn Botannic Garden.
"The Art Of Paul Sawyier" by Arthur F. Jones, a 200-page book, chronicles the life of this mysterious and talented American artist and documents more than 70 of his beautiful paintings with many color photos.