1883 - 1970
Sorry, there are no artworks available at present.
Henri Hayden went to the polytechnic in Warsaw in 1902 and attended the school of fine art at the same time. In 1905 he abandoned his engineering studies to follow his vocation as a painter. He went to Paris in 1907 and eventually settled in France. In the first years he lived and worked in almost total isolation while trying to make contact with French culture and painting. After a few months at the Académie de la Palette where Georges Desvallières and Charles Guérin taught, he went to Pont-Aven in 1908, and to Pouldu, in the Finistère region of Brittany, in 1909, where he stayed until 1912. From 1914 he settled in Montparnasse, where he became one of the influential figures during the interwar period. The outbreak of war in 1939 forced him to leave Paris; he went first to the Auvergne, where he met the Delaunays, then to Mougins in the Alpes-Maritimes and then, as the Germans were getting closer, to Roussillon in the Vaucluse, where he stayed until the end of the war. At Roussillon he met Samuel Beckett, with whom he played long chess games and who became a life-long friend and a supporter of his work. On his return to Paris, he found that many important paintings in his workshop in Montparnasse had disappeared and were lost for ever. In 1945 he executed a large mural, The Sciences, commissioned by the French Government for a school in Taverny (Val-d’Oise) but the work could not be installed for practical reasons.
In 1911, after his repeated stays in Brittany where he met the Polish painter Slewinski, a follower of Gauguin who passed on his admiration for him, Hayden brought back a series of paintings, landscapes and seascapes of Pouldu and Pont-Aven, which attracted the attention of the critic Adolphe Basler, who introduced his work to André Salmon. The latter showed a constant interest in Hayden’s painting and devoted many articles to him in newspapers and magazines. After his first solo exhibition in 1911, Hayden became withdrawn and worked in isolation, only exhibiting at the Salon des Indépendants, where he showed paintings with a bird’s eye view and simplified geometrical volumes with jagged facets and ridges, including Woman with Fan (1912).
With Cézanne as a starting point, he came round to early Cubism. In 1913, his major painting Chess Players was noticed by an art dealer, Charles Malpel, who bought his entire workshop from him and signed him to his gallery. His gallery workmates were André Lhote and Roger de La Fresnaye. When war broke out, Malpel was called up and the gallery closed. Hayden, exempt from military service, continued to work, moving towards analytical Cubism at this time (though he did not fully subscribe to it until after 1915), dissociating colour from form and reducing objects to elliptical signs. He associated with Picasso, Lipchitz, Juan Gris, Metzinger and Séverini. His compatriot Lipchitz introduced him to Léonce Rosenberg, a fervent champion of Cubism, who took him into his gallery. He then painted still-lifes, not unequal to those of Picasso, Braque and Juan Gris, and landscapes, more scarce in analytical Cubism. His distinctive colour harmonies singled him out in the context of the group of Cubists as Max Jacob remarked when he called him the ‘Renoir of Cubism’.
In 1920, the Salon des Indépendants organised a Cubist room in which Hayden exhibited his Three Musicians, a reflection of his interest in contemporary music and of his friendship with Éric Satie, as well as a successful transposition of the rhythms of sound into the plastic rhythms of Cubism. This composition, dated a year earlier than Picasso’s painting on the same theme, and in which he used Picasso’s image of Harlequin and Pierrot (which he had already borrowed from him in 1914), gave him his official place in the history of Cubism.
Nevertheless, from 1921 onwards, he joined the general movement away from the Cubist aesthetic in the Paris School, avoiding any needless repetition. He took fresh inspiration from Modigliani, Derain, Matisse and Dufy, and instinctively went back to a natural realism, which caused the break-up of his friendship with Léonce Rosenberg. He then painted landscapes of the south of France, nudes and still-lifes. He exhibited at the Salon des Tuileries until the outbreak of war in 1939, and organised several of his own solo exhibitions. After the war his landscapes of the Seine-et-Marne region near La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, and still-lifes maintain a very personal note and successfully harmonise his Cubist experiments and his Realist aspirations. In Hayden’s paintings and gouaches, the shapes observed are synthesized, often on the verge of abstraction, in bands of a chromatic distinction, perhaps harking back to Gauguin’s symbolic use of colour, or the result of a successful fusion between Cubist construction and Matisse-like colours.
Henri Hayden featured at the Salon d’Automne (from 1909 when he showed Portrait of a Woman), the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon des Tuileries. After World War II he took part on several occasions in the Salons de Mai (from 1963) and in the Grands et Jeunes d’Aujourd’hui. Other collective exhibitions include: Menton Biennale (1951 and 1953 receiving a prize) and Turin Biennale (1959). He held solo exhibitions in Paris regularly including: Galerie Druet (1911); Charles Malpel and Léonce Rosenberg galleries (both up to 1920); with Zborowski; Galerie Suillerot (from 1953); retrospective, Lyons museum (1960); Centre Culturel, Aix-en-Provence (1966); Soixante ans de peintures 1908-1968, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris (1968); Maison de la Cultire, Bourges (1970); Rennes museum (1979); Modern Art Museum, Amiens and Troyes (1994); Hommage à Henri Hayden (1883-1970), Musée Tavet-Delacour, Pontoise (2001).
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Aberdeen (AG): Still-life with Newspaper (1920, oil on canvas)
Birmingham (Mus. and AG): Cassis (oil on canvas)
Cardiff (National Mus. and Gal.)
Leeds (City AG): The Factory (1911, oil on canvas)
London (Tate Collection): Chess Board in Ochre (1961, oil on canvas); The Red Plain (1962, oil on canvas); lithographs/paper (landscapes, still-lifes)
London (Victoria and Albert Mus.)
Marseilles (Mus. Cantini)
Munich (National Art Gallery)
Paris (MNAM-CCI): Parisian Woman (1912); Three Musicians (1920); Mandolin (1957); Red Still-life (1957)
Turin (Gal. Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea): Fields (1960)