Landscape painter, illustrator. Born in Medoc, MO on January 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 an employee of and engraving company in Houston, TX. Ill with diphtheria, he moved to California in 1917. Traveling to California by train, he was enchanted with the Southwest desert and vowed to return which he did in 1919. For three years he lived in Arizona working for a mining company as a bookkeeper while painting in his leisure. Upon returning to California in 1922, he held his first art exhibition of 64 watercolors in San Francisco; later that year he exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In that year he moved to Los Angeles and two years later built a home and studio in Glendale where he remained for the rest of his life. Sayre is one of California’s best known painters of the deserts and the Southwest. Member: Pallete & Chisel Club of Chicago; Painters & Sculptors of Los Angeles (cofounder and President, 1929) Exhibited: Bohemian Club, 1922; Glendale Chamber of Commerce, 1922 (solo); Glendale Public Library, 1962 (retrospective) Works Held: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Source: Hughes, Edan Milton, "Artists in California: 1786-1940," San Francisco: Hughes Publishing Company, 1989.)
The Teec Nos Pos style of Navajo weaving is a bold, exciting and elaborate design. Many believe this style developed from pictures of Persian rugs while others see no connection and believe that traders introduced this design to the Navajo People from designs on flour sacks. The name, which means "Cottonwoods in a Circle," comes from a settlement in the northeast corner of the Navajo Nation. Always surrounded by a wide border and filled with an exuberant variety of motifs, Teec Nos Pos style rugs are usually large, and therefore very expensive. An elaborate center is enhanced with stylized feathers and arrows. Steps and angular hooks extend from the points of diamonds and triangles, while zigags are abundant. The many, brightly colored yarns are used to create a visually stunning design in the Teec Nos Pos style.
RODERIC O’CONOR An exact contemporary of Charles Gruppe, O’Conor is listed as both Irish and Irish-American (by Bénézit, in error). His place of birth was Roscommon, Ireland (on 17 October 1860). Regarded as Ireland’s most progressive painter of his time, O’Conor was close to both Gauguin and Armand Seguin in the Pont-Aven region, and he was wealthy enough to purchase paintings by Cézanne, Gauguin, Renoir, Manet, and others. O’Conor studied art in Dublin (1879-83), Antwerp (1883), then in Paris under Carolus-Duran and at the Académie Julian. He was working in Grèz-sur-Loing in the 1880s (Jacobs, 1985, p. 33), and began exhibiting his works at the Salon des Indépendants in 1890. Later he would take part in the Salon d’Automne. O’Conor first came to Brittany in 1890, and two years later he executed Yellow Landscape at Pont-Aven (Barnet Shine Collection, London). At Pont-Aven, O’Conor also did engravings. The Irishman befriended Gauguin there, also in 1892. The latter tried to persuade his “drinking buddy” O’Conor to accompany him to Tahiti. The Irish painter was certainly as avant-garde as Gauguin. Breton Peasant Knitting, already post-impressionistic, was painted in 1893, and The Farm at Lezaven, Finistère (National Gallery of Ireland), a year later. According to tradition, O’Conor inspired the character of Clutton, the failed artist in Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage. The letters between Seguin and O’Conor were published in 1989, as Une vie de bohème. In the introduction, Denys Sutton describes how O’Conor served as Seguin’s “father confessor.” O’Conor’s friend Clive Bell (in Old Friends, 1956, p. 163), pointed out that O’Conor “seems to have known . . . most of the more interesting French painters of his generation — the Nabis for instance.” O’Conor’s use of bold color anticipates the Fauves and the German Expressionists. His knowledge of avant-garde painting had a direct impact on the formalist critics Roger Fry and Clive Bell. O’Conor influenced both Robert Vonnoh and Edward Potthast in Grèz, and he oriented Alden Brooks (1840-1931) to Vincent van Gogh’s innovative techniques. Brooks stated that O’Conor was “considered by all the one genius of the crowd.” (Hill, 1987, p. 14). He died at Neuil-sur-Layon on 18 March 1940.
A native of New York and the son of an engraver, James David Smillie earned his early reputation for his etching skills but later for watercolor landscapes. He began etching at age 8, learning from his father, James Smillie (1807-1885). At age 14, he did a set of plates illustrating John Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost. He had a job as a bank note engraver, and then he and his father had a business, collaborating as engravers with a specialty of bank-notes. They also did the engravings for the 1857 Mexican Boundary Survey Report. James David Smillie helped organize the New York Etching Club, and he was the U.S. representative to supply examples of American etchers' work to the Painters-Etchers Society of London. Although he continued working with etching, drypoint, aquatint and lithography, in 1865, he began doing landscape painting and was especially interested in mountain scenery. Smillie traveled in California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in Colorado in the Rocky Mountains, and in the eastern United States in the Catskills and Adirondacks. From these trips he did illustrations that were published in 1872 in the magazine Picturesque America. In 1881, Smillie got married, and the couple had two sons. By 1884, he was in France, and spent much time there doing prints of landscapes, figures, portraits and cityscapes. Between 1888 and 1896, he produced a set of drypoint floral still-life prints. James David Smillie founded the American Watercolor Society and served as president and treasurer. He also taught classes at the National Academy of Design in 1868 and from 1894 to 1903.