Philip Ayer Sawyer Biography

Philip Ayer Sawyer




A landscape and figure painter who depicted many Southwest subjects and also a muralist, Philip Sawyer was born in Chicago and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, at Purdue University, and the Yale School of Fine Arts. In Paris, he studied with Leon Bonnat, and after 1900 lived much of the time in France.

He was active in Detroit, Michigan as a member of the Society of Independent Artists. He completed a mural titled "Scenes from Chicago History (1915), which is in the restored (1998) auditorium of the Joseph E. Gary School, 3740 West 32st Street in Chicago. An illustration of this mural and biographical material may be found in Mary Lackritz Gray's, "A Guide to Chicago's Murals". The central panel of the mural is titled "Progress". (Perry)

In the early 1900s, Sawyer traveled in the Southwest, and paintings from these travels include Indian figures and landscapes in Arizona at the Hopi and Navajo reservations.  He also stopped to visit J.L. Hubbell at his trading post at Ganado, Arizona.  His paintings are in the Santa Fe Railway Collection. In the 1930s, he lived in Tiskilwa, Illinois, and in the 1940s in Clearwater, Florida where he died.


Peggy and Harold Samuels, Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West

Susan E. Perry, Senior Library Assistant, Ryerson & Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago

Martha Blue, Indian Trader, The Life and Times of J.L. Hubbell