Lot 302    

Portrait of "Mayme" Bull Within River Landscape by Paul Sawyier,
Summer Fine and Decorative Art Auction / June 6, 2009
watercolor on paper, initialed in the lower left. This wonderfully intimate portrait of "Mayme" Bull, set in a river landscape, appears almost to be an escape for the couple, and certainly for Sawyier, who found comfort in Kentucky quiet rivers and creeks. It is interesting to note that the piece was only initialed, atypical of Sawyier, but probably because of the nature of the painting. it was almost certainly a gift to the artist's lover; 13" high x 9" wide (sight).

Accompanied with the painting are "Mayme" Bull's monogrammed gold bracelet and a pair of photographs, in which the resemblance is unmistakable.

Descended directly in the family of Mayme Bull


Cowan's is pleased to offer the following important collection of paintings by artist Paul Sawyier. The five Sawyier paintings offered here were originally owned by Mayme Bull (presumably gifts from Sawyier), and descended in the Bull family to Mayme's niece, Elizabeth Bull Howard (likely through Mayme's sisters). The paintings were bequeathed to the current owner, a close friend of Elizabeth's.

Paul Sawyier (1865-1917) was born the son of a physician in Madison County, Ohio, but his family relocated to Frankfort, Kentucky when he was young. Paul’s early inclinations towards art were cultivated by his parents, and in 1884 Sawyier enrolled in the Cincinnati Art School. Within two years, he opened a studio in Cincinnati. In New York, Sawyier studied under William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League. Sawyier returned to Cincinnati and studied under Frank Duveneck. He then returned to Frankfort where local subjects became his focus, and it was here he developed his particular aptitude for watercolor. Between 1908 and 1913, Sawyier spent several years living on a houseboat on the Kentucky River painting his surroundings. At the 1893 Columbian Exposition Sawyier and his work achieved a level of popularity, and he, unlike most of his Kentucky contemporaries, embraced Impressionism. Proud of his status as a professional artist, Sawyier generally refused to engage in other pursuits even when money was short (which it often was). In 1913, Sawyier relocated to Brooklyn, New York, living with his widowed sister. Years later, he moved to the Catskill Mountains where he died in 1917.

Paul Sawyier first met Mary "Mayme" Bull (1865-1914), also of Frankfort in 1887,. While the two became engaged, they never married (a result of their caring for their aging and ailing parents and Sawyier's constant financial instability). Little is known of their relation because Sawyier's sister burned all of the couple's correspondence upon the death of her brother.

References: Arthur F. Jones, The Art of Paul Sawyier (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1976)
Only minor perimeter toning.
Sold: $27,025.00
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
      Ask a Question

All Images

don't miss

an opportunity to bid. You can't win if you're not in.

sign up to bid

what's it worth?

ask the experts

sell your item

start selling
Regency Metamorphic Oak Library Chair,
Lot # 231 - Regency Metamorphic Oak Library Chair,
ca 1815. The hinged seat falling forward to form four steps with (later) inset tooled leather coverings;: 34" high x 25" wide x 20" deep.Note: The design of this armchair is similar to a design first published in Ackermann's Repository of Arts, in July, 1811 and captioned "This ingenious piece of fu... > Item Details
19th Century French Armoire,
Lot # 354 - 19th Century French Armoire,
19th century. A Louis XV-style carved armoire, with molded cornice over flower basket-carved frieze over a pair of asymmetrical scrolled panel doors with central floral carving and brass escutcheons, carved scalloped skirt on front cabriole legs; 90" high x 51" wide x 22.5" deep. > Item Details
Mahal Rug.
Lot # 364 - Mahal Rug.
Persian, early 20th century, 8'7" x 12'. > Item Details
McKenney & Hall Portrait 1837, <i>Ki-On-Twog-Ky</i>,
Lot # 78 - McKenney & Hall Portrait 1837, Ki-On-Twog-Ky,
hand-colored lithograph, published by E.C. Biddle, 1837; 21.5" high x 15" wide (sight). > Item Details
Lalique Art Deco Dresser Box,
Lot # 464 - Lalique Art Deco Dresser Box,
ca 1920, with molded sprays of flowers, signed R. Lalique France in script; 1.75" high x 3.25" diameter. > Item Details
McKenney & Hall, <i>Tschusick, An Objiway Woman</i>,
Lot # 76 - McKenney & Hall, Tschusick, An Objiway Woman,
hand-colored lithograph, published in 1837 by E.C. Biddle, printed and colored by Bowen's Lithographic Establishment; 16" high x 12" wide (sight). > Item Details
Lot # 461 - Anna "Anya" B. Goodfellow Floral Still Life,
American 20th century, oil on board, signed with full name and nickname on stretcher. A floral still life, typical of the whimsical work of this Michigan artist; 20" high x 16" wide (sight). > Item Details
Rookwood Faience Bacchus Frieze from Mills Restaurant,
Lot # 453 - Rookwood Faience Bacchus Frieze from Mills Restaurant,
Cincinnati, Ohio, ca 1921. A Rookwood faience Bacchus frieze from the Mills Restaurant, formerly located at 31-39 E. 4th St., Cincinnati, Ohio. Possibly used at the top of a column; approximately 18.5" high x 25" wide x 5.5" deep. > Item Details
Audubon Bien Edition
Lot # 74 - Audubon Bien Edition "White Headed Eagle,"
mid 19th century chromolithograph by J. Bien, 1860, after John James Audubon (American, 1785-1851), titled White headed Eagle, (No. 2-2, Plate 114). Untrimmed, 40" x 26.625". > Item Details
Chinese Export Plates,
Lot # 207 - Chinese Export Plates,
18th century, set of six Chinese export plate decorated with sepia swags; each 9.75" diameter. > Item Details
Gray's of Belfast Gold Pocket Watch,
Lot # 373 - Gray's of Belfast Gold Pocket Watch,
Anglo-Irish, ca 1820s, by (John) Gray, partner with Robert Gray, Belfast. Paired 18K gold case, with both cases struck for Chester 1823-24. White enamel dial with Roman chapter ring, seconds subsidiary dial and gold hands. Key wind, key set, chain fusee movement with lever escapement; case approx... > Item Details
<i>St. Louis Can Co.</i> Oil Can,
Lot # 2004 - St. Louis Can Co. Oil Can,
14" diameter 8.5" width. Marked St. Louis Can Co. Pour Ezee Tilting. Complete with cap and pair of handles. > Item Details
Four Blown & Pressed Whale Oil Lamps,
Lot # 67 - Four Blown & Pressed Whale Oil Lamps,
American, New England, ca 1815-45. Whale oil/fluid period, colorless. Includes two blown conical font stand lamps with bladed wafer construction, a "Pressed Lion Head" stand lamp, and a blown squat chamber lamp; 1.75" to 11.5" high. > Item Details
Decorated and Figural Side Chairs,
Lot # 50 - Decorated and Figural Side Chairs,
American, 19th century. A group of three, one painted and stenciled "balloon-back", ca 1830s; 17.50" seat height, 32.5" overall height; with one Empire side chair in figural maple with carved slat, possibly Albany, New York, ca 1800-1815, 16" seat height, 31.5" overall height; and one Fancy Hitchcoc... > Item Details
Spoon Rack in Old Paint,
Lot # 417 - Spoon Rack in Old Paint,
American, ca 1850, old gray green paint. A pine spoon rack with a compartment for mortar and pestle; 20" high x 14" wide x 9.5" deep. > Item Details
Trade Sign Advertising for Millinery,
Lot # 148 - Trade Sign Advertising for Millinery,
American, 19th century. A two sided trade sign advertising for Millinery; painted on a molded board with silver letters on a black background; 39.5" long. > Item Details
Ohio Folk Art Carved Two- Drawer Stand,
Lot # 43 - Ohio Folk Art Carved Two- Drawer Stand,
Covington, Ohio, ca 1840. A folk art carved (probably later) cherry two drawer stand with four wooden knobs. Carving on all exposed surfaces includes: horse with dog, flowers, branch with leaves, snake skin and zigzag design with dots and natural motifs; 28" high x 23" wide x 18" deep. > Item Details
Shorebird Decoy of Artic Tern,
Lot # 193 - Shorebird Decoy of Artic Tern,
American, mid to late 20th century, wood with glass eyes and original paint, on a wooden stand; 14" long. > Item Details
Heroic Equestrian Bronze after Nicholas Coustou,
Black Boy Boot Scraper,
Lot # 424 - Black Boy Boot Scraper,
American, ca 1850-60. Cast iron figural boot scraper, with black shoeshine boy seated atop boot scraper with dolphin supports, two brushes mounted on an oval scalloped tray; 12" high x 10" wide. > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20