"I therefore rest satisfied, and thank God that my lot is to be an American farmer" –J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer (1782).
Hayley Lever (1875-1958), Spring Planting, ca. 1940. Unsigned, oil on panel, 11 1/2″ x 9 1/2″. In a reproduction frame. Two Kennedy Galleries labels pasted on verso, one over the other. Colors bright and fresh.
Provenance: the Manoogian Collection.
A lovely, vibrant oil by an artist who generally defied classification, but who is most closely associated with the Post-Impressionist movement. Hayley Lever was born in Austria and, after some time spent painting near St. Ives, a popular destination for artists from throughout Europe and the United States, Lever emigrated to New York in 1913. He was represented by Macbeth Galleries, was a member of the National Academy of Design, and enjoyed a long teaching career at the Art Students League.
As Spring Planting demonstrates, Lever’s best sketches and smaller paintings were those that relied most on vigorous design. Here, the stark barren tree presents almost as a portrait subject, while the strip of green and the low buildings temper the mood and add a dash of the pastoral. In all, Spring Planting is an electric combination of design and palette, and is a fine example of the aesthetic that made Lever one of the most recognized artists of the early 20th century.