Hayley Lever Information and Inventory

Hayley Lever

(1876 - 1958)

Hayley-Lever-East-Gloucester_f

Hayley Lever

(1876-1958)

Over thirty-five years I seem to have acquired six paintings by Australian-born Hayley Lever, all small in size. So I must conclude that I like Lever’s work. After departing from Australia in 1899 he settled in England for twelve years, much of which was spent in the Cornish community of St. Ives. It was Ernest Lawson who coaxed his friend into immigrating to America, where he remained for the rest of his life. The first Lever I acquired, entitled Gloucester Sunset, was in 1968 from the indomitable Mr. Chapellier. Of the six, this perhaps best reflects the artist’s admiration for Van Gogh’s palette and vigorous brushwork. Gloucester became a significant aspect of his work. He first arrived there around 1915 or so and returned for the next twenty summers. Some of Lever’s finest works were from his St. Ives period and his occasional foray into Brittany. I next obtained an extraordinary pair of panels, a St. Ives harbor scene and a rooftop view of Concarneau in winter, both painted circa 1903. These two are very special to me. This was followed by a juicy street scene in St. Ives dated 1903. In 1997, another Gloucester harbor image was obtained from the Greenwich Gallery. By this time, Lever’s star was rising rapidly, and one of the most aggressive “name- makers,” Spanierman Gallery, was chasing Lever at auction, so it was clear that Lever was “on his way.” The sixth and final piece was obtained in 2002 from a private dealer and represented another important element in Lever’s work, New York City. The image is the Queensboro Bridge circa 1925. Lever enjoyed instant acceptance and great success in America but, like so many, was seriously hurt by the Depression, requiring him to sell his home in Caldwell, New Jersey, and move elsewhere. Part of the secret to Lever’s desirability in recent years, aside from quality of work, is quantity of work. He was extraordinarily prolific, producing enough work to support at least eight exhibitions since his death that I can identify, at various galleries over the past forty years or so. Clearly it’s difficult to build a market for a given artist if there isn’t a sizable supply of paintings with which to work. It sounds crass, but its true.

Hayley Lever Gallery