NKU hosts huge Sawyier exhibit

One of largest shows to feature artist with 65 original works on display

By Kevin Wheatley Published:

More than 60 original Paul Sawyier watercolor, oil and pastel paintings are on display at Northern Kentucky University through Dec. 9, the first time the impressionist painter’s work has been exhibited in Northern Kentucky.

William Coffey, owner of Paul Sawyier Galleries, said the exhibit, called “Kentucky Impressions: Paul Sawyier Original Works,” started modestly at 25 paintings but mushroomed to 65 “of the very finest Sawyier originals of all mediums – watercolors, oils, pastel portraits, etchings” from local collectors like the Kentucky Historical Society, Liberty Hall Historic Site, State Curator David Buchta, Wayne and Wanda Morris, Chad and Lenee Peach, Jack Travis, and Coffey.

Other lenders are from Lexington, Versailles, Fort Mitchell and Florida, according to a press release from NKU.

Most of the 65 paintings were lent from Central Kentucky collectors, Coffey said, noting Sawyier’s work has never been exhibited in Northern Kentucky or Ohio.

“This is probably the second largest Sawyier exhibit that has probably ever been held,” he said during a phone interview Friday.

The paintings will be on display in the Schlachter Family Archives and the Eva G. Farris Reading Room in NKU’s W. Frank Steely Library.

Coffey said the exhibit is well worth the 90-minute drive to Highland Heights. He called Monday’s opening night, which drew between 100 and 200 patrons, “fantastic.”

“I don’t think many Kentuckians know what a fantastic campus this is,” Coffey said. “… This is certainly their finest exhibition of art they’ve ever held.”

Sawyier, who studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy and is well known for his paintings of scenery and life around Frankfort, sold more than 3,000 original works throughout his career.

Among those at NKU are a portrait of Gov. William Goebel, the only Kentucky governor to be assassinated in office, and three paintings of the same scene during different seasons – “Winter Stroll,” “Walking in the Rain” and “Old Capital Hotel.”

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.

NKU also plans to hold lectures and events about Paul Sawyier and his work during the exhibit’s run.

Kentucky Impressions: Paul Sawyier Original Works

Exhibit at the Steely Library Schlachter University Archives: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Exhibit at Steely Library Eva G. Farris Reading Room: Monday-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

Steel Library will have reduced hours Oct. 14-16, Nov. 21 and is closed Nov. 6 and Nov. 22-24.

Exhibit ends Dec. 9

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