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  • Myra L. Sawyer

Myra L. Sawyer

Myra Louise Sawyer was born in 1866 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was a figurative painter, watercolorist, and a teacher. She was among the first female artists from Utah to receive name recognition for their work. She died in Peoria, Illinois in 1956.

In the early 1900s Sawyer studied in Paris for six and a half years. She also traveled to: Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. She and Rose Hartwell were in Giverney, France where Sawyer observed and learned from Edouard Monet.

Girl Among the Hollyhocks is an example of her interpretation of impressionist painting. Sawyer exhibited watercolors in Paris at the American Girls' Club Show of 1910 and at the American Society's show of 1912. In 1913, her watercolor work was exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art Washington, D.C.

Biography adapted from Artists of Utah. 

Myra Louise Sawyer of Salt Lake City and Elm Grove, Illinois, was a talented figurative oil painter and watercolorist. Also going for study in France in the early 1900s, Sawyer spent six and a half years there in addition to travel to Italy, Holland, and Spain. Making copies after Velasquez south of the Pyrenees, she joined Rose Hartwell (q.v.) for sketching and painting near Monet's home and was fortunate enough to observe that master at work. A more delicate and softer approach was developed by this artist than that of Hartwell; Sawyer's forms are typically integrated by a broad and light painter's touch in many cases. Returning to Utah before the end of 1910, this sensitive young woman went to work under Edwin Evans (q.v.) as instructor of art in the University of Utah's Department of Art (1907-1909); this teaching experience was followed by work of the same kind with the girls at Salt Lake's Rowland Hall. Exhibiting in Paris in the American Girl's Club Show of 1912, Sawyer had two miniatures accepted at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts at the same time. She also succeeded in placing he watercolor work in a 1913 exhibition presented at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., and quietly worked into later decades until her death in Peoria, Illinois.

Biography courtesy Artists of Utah.

Newspaper Article

"Back To The Future: S.L. Exhibits Featuring Contemporary Works On Paper, Women Artists Of Past, 1-Man Show Make Intriguing Mix." The Deseret News, July 2, 1989.

Books

Dawdy, Doris. Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary. Chicago, IL: Sage Books, 1980.

Dunbier, Roger, ed. North American Artists: The Artists Bluebook. Scottsdale, AZ: AskART.com, 2000.

Falk, Peter Hastings. Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.

Falk, Peter Hastings. Who Was Who in American Art : Compiled from the Original Thirty-four Volumes of American Art Annual--Who's Who in Art, Biographies of American Artists Active from 1898-1947. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1985.

Gerdts, William H. Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting, 1710-1920. New York, NY: Abbeville Press, 1990.

Haseltine, James L. 100 Years of Utah Painting: Selected Works from the 1840s to the 1940s. Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake Art Center, 1965.

Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

Reinhardt, Lisa, and R. J. Davenport. Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide. Phoenix, AZ: Gordon's Art Reference, 2004.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, Donna Poulton, and Janie Rogers. 100 Year Survey of Utah Art, Utah Artists. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2001.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Art. Layton, UT: Peregrine Smith Books, 1992.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Painting and Sculpture. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1991.

 Last Modified 8/28/13