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 Fred Grayson Sayre  (1879 - 1939)

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Lived/Active: California/Missouri      Known for: landscape, figure, genre

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AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Verbena Clad Dunes
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A highly successful illustrator who later became one of California's best known desert landscape painters in both oil and watercolor, Fred Sayre was born in Medoc, Missouri.  His only formal art training was several months with portraitist J. Laurie Wallace in Omaha, Nebraska.

He first worked in lead and zinc mines and with leather goods and then determined to become an artist.  He took an engraving job in Houston, Texas, and then moved to Chicago where he earned distinction as an illustrator and was a member of the Pallet and Chisel Club.  A near fatal bout of diphtheria changed his life when doctors persuaded him to move to California.

In 1916, he traveled by train through the Southwest and was enchanted by the desert landscapes.  From 1919 through 1922, he lived and painted in Arizona, working also as a bookkeeper at night for a mining company.

He returned to California in 1922 and settled ultimately in Glendale, thriving in the climate of the West.  That same year, he held his first art exhibition in San Francisco. He was a charter member of the Painters and Sculptors Club of Los Angeles, serving as president in 1929.

Exhibition venues included the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Bohemian Club of San Francisco, Wiltshire Art Galleries in Los Angeles and Glendale Art Association in Glendale.

Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
John and Deborah Powers, Texas Painters, Sculptors & Graphic Artists

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Medoc, MO on Jan. 9, 1879. Sayre worked in the lead and zinc mines and manufactured leather goods before settling on an art career. He remained a self-taught artist except for two months with J. Laurie Wallace in Omaha. His first creative job as an artist was as an employee of an engraving company in Houston, TX. Sick with diptheria, he moved to California in 1917. Traveling by train, he was enchanted with the Southwest desert and vowed to return, which he did in 1919. For three years he worked in Arizona as a bookkeeper for a mining company while painting in his leisure. Upon returning to California in 1922, he soon built a home and studio in Glendale where he remained until his death on Jan. 1, 1939 (the same day that Frank Tenney Johnson died in Pasadena). Sayre is one of California's best-known painters of the desert. Exh: LACMA, 1919; Chamber of Commerce (Glendale), 1922; Bohemian Club, 1922; Calif. WC Society, 1922-24; Barker Brothers (LA), 1923; Southby Salon (LA), 1924, 1927; Painters & Sculptors of LA, 1924-32; Wilshire Gallery (LA), 1926; Artland Club (LA), 1927; Stendahl Gallery (LA), 1927; Club California (Long Beach), 1928; Bullocks (LA), 1929, 1931; Tuesday Afternoon Club (LA), 1931; Bartlett Gallery (LA), 1931; Ainslie Gallery (LA), 1931; Academy of Western Art (LA), 1935; Glendale Library, 1962 (retrospective). In: LACMA; Gardena High School.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); American Western Art (Harmsen); NY Times, 1-3-1939 (obituary).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Edenhurst Gallery (Artists M to Z):
Fred Grayson Sayre was a California landscape painter born in Medoc, Missouri in 1879. As with many artists, he did not immediately settle into a career in art, first pursuing a brief dalliance in the mining and manufacturing industries. Largely a self-taught artist, he moved to California in 1917.

He was captivated by the scenery of the Southwest United States and by 1922 was painting enough to hold his first exhibition of watercolors in San Francisco, followed by an exhibtion at the Los Angeles Museum. He eventually settled in Glendale, a suburb of Pasadena, and has left a legacy as one of California's most well known painters of the desert.

His depictions of the desert are very colorful, sometimes including figures of itinerant musicians and folkloric elements. He also commissioned many serigraph reproductions of some of his more well known compositions. Sayre was a member of the Painters and Sculptors Club of Los Angeles that he helped co-found in 1929. He died in 1939.

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