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Richard Hayley Lever   Click Images to Enlarge

Richard Hayley Lever
Overlook Mountain, Woodstock, New York
Oil on panel
10 x 14 in.
Richard Hayley Lever

(American, 1876-1958)

(Richard) Hayley Lever was a painter, etcher, lecturer and art instructor who was born in Adelaide, Australia on September 18, 1876. He studied at the Prince Alfred Cultural Institute in Adelaide, the N.Y.C. Art Students League, the Académie Julian (being influence by Van Gogh) in Paris and in London. He first arrived in England and painted for several years in the Cornwall village of St. Ives, a picturesque fishing port and became a member of the artist's colony there. He was a prolific artist and traveled throughout Europe painting outdoors in a confident, bold fashion. Some of his finest canvases of that period were painted in the port villages of Douarnenez and Concarneau, Brittany, directly across the English Channel from St. Ives. At his studio in St. Ives he painted with fellow artist Ernest Lawson, who persuaded Lever to emigrate to America. He arrived in NYC in 1912 and began to paint views of the Hudson River, Times Square at night and Central Park. Discovering the N.E. coast, he painted in Gloucester for many summers and at Marblehead, MA and galleries like William Macbeth and Ferargil gave him sell-out exhibitions.

Lever was a member of the American Painters and Etchers, National Arts Club, California Academy of Fine Arts, Royal British Academy (London), Associate (1925) and Full Academician (1933) at the National Academy (NYC), the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (London), the Royal West of England Academy; the Contemporaries and the New Society of Artists.

Lever won numerous gold and silver medals for artistic achievement at the National Academy, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia Watercolor Club, Pan-Pacific Exposition (1915), the Montclair Art Assoc., and elsewhere. In 1915 he won the gold medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco and the National Arts Club honored him with a lifetime membership and he was elected a member of the National Academy. From 1919-1931 he taught at the Art Students League of NY, maintained a Gloucester studio and often traveled to paint on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard (and up to Canada). He eventually bought a home in Caldwell, NJ and painted the NJ landscape. He had to give up his home during the Great Depression. He died in Mt. Vernon, NH in 1958 a famous painter, etcher and teacher but he was financially impoverished. Some of his finest modernistic paintings were of Woodstock, NY.

His work is represented in the White House; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Wash., DC; Dallas Art Museum; Des Moines Art Museum; Fort Worth Museum of Art; L.A. County Museum of Art; Telfair Academy; National Arts Club; National Academy of Design; Memphis Art Museum; Australia Art Museum; Cincinnati Art Museum, the Sydney Art Gallery of Australia and more. Lever died in Mount Vernon, New York on December 6, 1958 recognized for his impressionistic views of boats in harbors and at sea.

References: Michael David Zellman, Three Hundred Years of American Art; Who Was Who in American Art; American Art Annuals, 1942, 1954; 1931, E. Neuhaus, The History and Ideals of American Art; 1921, Bryant, L.M., American Pictures and Their Painters; 1915, Walter, J., Panama-Pacific Exposition; 1954, Eliot Clark, History of the National Academy of Design; 1939, Forbes, Watson, American Painting Today: 1980, Archibald, Dictionary of Sea Painters.