LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 12, 2021) Although he was born across the Ohio River, it was the magnificent Commonwealth landscape that became the beloved subject of Impressionist Paul Sawyier’s career. A free public display of Sawyier’s watercolors from the museum’s collection at the University of Kentucky Art Museum is now on display.

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

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

Sawyier often revisited his favorite subjects from Frankfurt: the dappled shade of Louisville Hill in summer; the “Singing Bridge”, the spiers of county and federal courthouses, and the Church of the Good Shepherd, seen from the vantage point of the city of Frankfort cemetery; and the graceful architecture of the Old Capitol building.

Sawyier grew up in the state capital from the age of 5 and began his artistic career in his beloved hometown. He often lived and worked on a barge on the Kentucky River between 1908 and 1913, frequently mooring at Shakertown or Camp Nelson, although he sailed the river to many sites. Sawyier and his sweetheart, Mayme Bull, often rode the Elkhorn River or Creek east of Frankfort.

Even after Sawyier moved to Brooklyn in 1913 to try and sell more works, he painted beloved Kentucky scenes based on sketches he brought with him.

This exhibition will be on display until March 20, 2021.


To ensure the safety and health of customers and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Art Museum has several protocols in place. All visitors must register in advance for a scheduled appointment to view the exhibits. Reservations can be made here.

In addition, all visitors should adhere to the following guidelines when visiting exhibitions or activities at the UK Art Museum:

  • Face masks must be worn by all visitors over 2 years of age.
  • The capacity will be reduced and controlled to 20 visitors at any time.
  • Temperature checks will be required for visitors and staff prior to entry.
  • Visitors showing signs of illness at any time will be invited to return when they are healthy.
  • Visitors should use the hand sanitizer provided at the entrance.
  • Social distancing is required and will be enforced.
  • Follow the signs indicating the direction of circulation in the galleries.
  • Credit or debit cards only; no cash allowed for purchases.

UK Art Museum staff will also wear masks, undergo pre-entry temperature checks, use hand sanitizer and practice social distancing. Please check the UK Art Museum website prior to your visit for the most up-to-date information.

The current UK Art Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. The museum will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

The mission of the UK Art Museum, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art in order to improve the quality of life of the people of Kentucky by collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting exceptional works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of over 4,800 objects, including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculptures, the art museum features both special exhibits and exhibits of work from its permanent collection .

The UK Art Museum is located in the Singletary Center for the Arts at Rose Street and Euclid Avenue. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.


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