Bill Puryear, the Sage of Sumner County, was a Vanderbilt University graduate, a Korean War veteran, and an accomplished artist and writer. During his time with the Army in Korea, he served as editor of his regimental newspaper and as a correspondent for Stars & Stripes. He taught at Vanderbilt, Fisk University, and University of Tennessee Nashville. He was founding Treasurer of Nashville Memorial Hospital and of Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville, and he served as Chairman Emeritus of The Memorial Foundation.
Puryear retired in 2000 as Senior Partner of the CPA firm he first founded in 1962 in order to devote full time to painting and writing. He put his time to good use and wrote multiple books. His first book is a historic trilogy, The Founding of the Cumberland Settlements. It was subsequently named Book of the Year by The Tennessee Historical Commission.
His art has been displayed in Cheekwood, the Parthenon and the Tennessee State Museum. It’s also on display in many corporate and private collections. His visual art works include landscapes, historical subjects, and musicians, among other things, comprising more than 200 works in watercolor and oils. His favorite place to paint was his private studio overlooking the Cumberland River near Gallatin.
Puryear, who passed away in February at age 89, played an indispensable role in the founding of the Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center. To celebrate his extraordinary life and his important Tennessee-inspired art, the MACC presented this retrospective of his art. The exhibit featured approximately 45 of his original paintings, prints and giclee.