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Myra Louise Sawyer

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Myra Louise Sawyer

(Salt Lake City, Utah, 1866 - 1956, Peoria, Illinois)

According to Dr. Vern Swanson of the Springville Museum of Art, Mary Teasdel (1863-1937), Rose Hartwell (1861-1914), and Myra Louise Sawyer (c.1866-1956) were the first female artists from Utah to receive name recognition for their work.1 In the early 1900s, Sawyer studied art in Paris, France, with other Utah artists who were referred to as the "French Mission." Sawyer spent over six years in France. While there, she and Rose Hartwell sketched and painted in Giverney near Monet's home. At that time, she was able to observe Monet at work. Sawyer also traveled in Italy, Holland, and Spain where she copied the artistic style of Velazquez.2 Myra Louise Sawyer's artistic approach was softer and more delicate than that of either Teasdel or Hartwell. Her works include Girl Among the Hollyhocks, n.d., and Helen Kimball, n.d. Upon her return to Utah, Myra obtained employment at the University of Utah's Department of Art working with Edwin Evans from 1907 to 1909. She continued her teaching experience at the Rowland Hall School for Girls in Salt Lake City. 3 Sawyer exhibited some of her work in the American Girl's Club Show in Paris in 1910 and in the American Society's show in 1912. At that time, two of her miniatures were accepted for exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In 1913, examples of her watercolor work were accepted for exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. Sawyer continued her artistic work into later decades. She died in 1956 in Peoria, Illinois.4 Notes Dr. Vern G. Swanson, "Women Artists of Utah" Exhibition Catalogue Essay, Springville Museum of Art, 1984. Vern G. Swanson, Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit, Utah Painting & Sculpture, Revised Edition, Gibbs Smith: Salt Lake City, c. 1991, 1997, pp.105-106; "100 Years of Utah Painting" Exhibition Catalogue, Selected Works from the 1840s - 1940s, October 22nd - November 23rd, 1965, Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, p.45.

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