Henri Hayden (French, 1883-1970) Nature morte (Painted circa 1919)

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Lot 8AR
Henri Hayden
(French, 1883-1970)
Nature morte

Sold for £ 86,500 (US$ 112,442) inc. premium
Henri Hayden (1883-1970)
Nature morte
signed 'H. Hayden' (lower right)
oil on canvas
73.5 x 92.7cm (28 15/16 x 36 1/2in).
Painted circa 1919

Footnotes

  • The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by Monsieur Pierre Célice. This work will be included in the forthcoming Henry Hayden catalogue raisonné currently being prepared.

    Provenance
    G. Modiano Collection.
    The Waddington Galleries, London.
    Cyril S. Reddihough Esq. Collection.


    Polish by birth, Henri Hayden was 24 years old when he moved to Paris in 1907 to pursue his studies at the avant-garde art school Académie de la Palette - an institution which would later count Henri le Fauconnier and Jean Metzinger among its tutors. After spending time pacing the corridors of museums and the gallery lined streets of the city in search of the new French art 'en vogue', Hayden happened upon the strikingly modern compositions of Paul Cézanne, a discovery which prompted him to enter his early 'cezannienne' period. Drawn to the harmony and ordered structure evinced within the work of Cézanne, the tenets of Cubism were soon to appeal to the young artist as he explored and carefully mastered the art of the avant-garde. Hayden succumbed to Cubism with what the critic Salomon would describe as 'a considered enthusiasm, dissociating colour from form and reducing objects to elliptical signs. Hayden adhered to Cubism, having already produced a great deal, in order to acquire a great deal of himself' (Salomon quoted in J. Setz, Hayden, Geneva, 1962, p. 98).

    By 1914, Hayden moved to the boulevard Raspail becoming part of an influential circle of artists including Picasso, Metzinger and Severini, who unsurprisingly encouraged him to adopt the prevailing Cubist style that was sweeping through Paris. As Hayden later explained, 'I only absorbed Cubism in 1915, after having swallowed and digested all of French painting in a few years. This rapid absorption led me, in a spirit of creative synthesis, without even realising, to Picasso and Braque's experimentation at the time' (H. Hayden quoted in A. Berès & M. Arveiller, Au temps des cubistes 1910 - 1920, Paris, 2006, p. 252).

    Painted in 1919, the present work belongs to a series of Cubist still lives that Hayden executed during the six years from 1916 to 1921. Although a great admirer of the technique developed by Picasso, Braque and Gris, Hayden never fully embraced the theories that defined Cubism. He observed with rigour the laws which defined a composition of superimposed planes and multiple perspectives, but always sought to bring spirit and poetry to the cubist geometry, interpreting Cubist principles in his own authentic style. Indeed Max Jacob called Hayden 'the Renoir of Cubism' (M. Jacob quoted in J. Setz, Hayden, Geneva, 1962, p. 23).

    In Nature morte, Hayden plays a variety of visual games with his viewer showing a true understanding of analytical Cubist spatial experiments. Dexterously dividing the surface of the painting into contrasting surface texture, shape and colour he transforms the traditional still genre into a patchwork of fragmented form. Utilising a series of interpenetrating planes, multiple viewpoints (we see the central pitcher from above and in relief), and visual signs (such as the newspaper title, the club card and the trompe l'oeil effect of the wood grain) Hayden creates sense of dynamism within the composition in which he consistently emphasises the two-dimensional flatness of the canvas in contrast to the pictorial techniques of depth and representation. Indeed, this sense of movement and contrast is only accentuated by the large scale of the painting which was characteristic of Hayden's short Cubist phase. In accordance with the simplified palette of Picasso and Braque's analytical cubism Hayden here employs muted, earthy tones with accents of green and ochre to the centre of the composition suggestive of the wooden table and the green glass of the wine bottle.

    Brought together through a synthesis of form, line and surface texture the present work is a superb example from this key moment in Hayden's career, showing a debt to Braque and Picasso yet revealing the author's own artistic spirit.
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