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Case Auctions
Live Auction

2024 Winter Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry (Day 1)

Sat, Jan 27, 2024 09:00AM EST
Lot 136

Bill Sawyer O/B Painting, Feeding Birds on an Empty Square

Estimate: $2,400 - $2,800

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

Bill Sawyer (American/Tennessee, 1936-2020) oil on board painting depicting a distant, white-haired figure standing in a large, empty plaza or square with back turned toward the viewer. He feeds a group of pigeons gathered at his feet while gazing toward the cloudy, pale blue sky that fills the upper two-thirds of the composition. The orthogonal lines of the plaza lead toward a vanishing point at center right. Signed "Bill Sawyer" lower left. Housed in a speckled, gray wooden frame. Sight: 13 1/2" H x 17 1/2" W. Frame: 17 7/8" H x 21 7/8" W.

Biography: Bill Sawyer was a self-taught artist from Nashville. He is said to have taken up painting while stationed in France in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1950s. His first exhibition was in Nashville in May of 1959 and he went on to have one-man shows at Daniel Orr's Gallery in San Diego, the Little Gallery in Memphis, TN, and the Parthenon in Nashville. Joseph Patterson, then the president of the American Association of Museums, arranged for a show of Sawyer's work at the Durlacher Brothers Gallery in New York in 1964. Sawyer was the first untrained artist to have a one-man show at the gallery, and his second show there, in 1966, sold out.

Shortly after this time, Sawyer traveled overseas. After his trip, for unknown reasons, Sawyer seems to have never painted again. He sought privacy, living quietly in Nashville, where he passed away in 2020. After 1966, his work went on to be exhibited at the Fine Arts Center at Cheekwood, and in the Art of Tennessee exhibit at the Frist Museum (2006).


Excellent condition.

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The estate of Ann H. Wells, Nashville, Tennessee.