American, 1876-1958

"Sunshine in the Hills", 1904

oil on canvas
signed and dated lower right "Hayley Lever / 1904", inscribed and titled on reverse "River Ex." (River Exe, Exmouth, England)
40 x 50 inches

  • Provenance: Clayton-Liberatore Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York; Spanierman Gallery, New York, New York; Private Collection, Connecticut

    Framed dimensions: 48 x 57 x 4 inches

    Hayley Lever…is one of the freshest and most vigorous painters who are still allied with the
    Academy. He does not depend upon stale academic recipes but prefers to see and paint things in his own way…his work shows an invigoratingly personal point of view.
    —Arts, 1929

    At the turn of the nineteenth century, the ancient Cornish fishing town of St. Ives, England, was
    home to a thriving artists' colony that lured both European as well as American artists to paint
    along the shores and piers. Richard Hayley Lever was a frequent visitor to St. Ives and painted
    ‘when the tide was out and when it was in, at all hours; sunrise, midday, sunset, and

    Lever was originally from Adelaide, Australia, and began his artistic training there at the Prince
    Alfred College. Upon graduation, he attended James Ashton's Academy of the Arts, also in Adelaide, where he was encouraged to paint out-of- doors. Around 1894, Lever moved to England, settling and painting in London, and by 1899 he moved to St. Ives to study with the British marine painters Julius Olsson and Algernon Talmage, strong proponents of painting en plein air.

    After a trip to the continent in 1908, Lever was introduced to the works of Vincent van Gogh, and
    his style took on a more vivid color palette and bolder brushwork with an emphasis on line and
    two-dimensional form. He was profoundly influenced by the works of Van Gogh and in homage, he
    created a series of paintings called Van Gogh's Hospital, Holland.

    In the current example, Sunshine in the Hills, Van Gogh's influence is apparent throughout the
    hillside and rippling water.

    Lever immigrated to the United States in 1912, and settled in New York City, where he had a
    prosperous painting career. He painted a number of scenes of Manhattan and later opened a studio in Gloucester, Massachusetts that he maintained for many years. From 1919 to 1931 he taught at the Art Students League in New York City and exhibited his work throughout the United States. Lever was a member of the National Academy of Design, National Arts Club, New Society of Artists, Royal British Artists, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and the Royal West of England Academy. His works are displayed in art institutions throughout the country, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Detroit Institute of Arts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

    1 Carol Lowrey, Hayley Lever 1876-1958 (New York: Spanierman Gallery, 2003), 13

    Tags: oil painting, listed artist, 20th century, St. Ives, Cornwall, England, Impressionist / Impressionism, boats, seascape / coastal / marine
  • Condition: Glue lined, small repaired tear in the center, overpaint can be greatly reduced, other very minor scattered areas of restoration, recommend cleaning.

    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. 

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