American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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We think Lever created a truly American Fauvism by capturing the deep childlike essence hinted at in
the work of Vlaminck, Duffy and Matisse (the last-named in his early 1904-05 mode). Born in
Adelaide, Australia, Lever (supported by his wealthy tanner grandfather) studied painting in Paris and
London. He settled in Cornwall’s artist colony of St. Ives (also the home of Pennsylvania
expatriate Walter Elmer Schofield) in the mid 1890s, but then came to the U.S. for good in 1911. (This
was at the urging of Ernest Lawson—one of the Eight and a close friend of the Pennsylvania Gang).
But Lever rose far above the early Fauvist naïf style, by seeing and expressing its connection with
the American innocence of the between the wars period and its roaring 1920’s speed-driven
culture.  Lever was little seen after 1931, owing to alcoholism-related illness and physical decline.
Some say he painted on shirt cardboards because that was all he could get in hospital, others claim he
turned out these works for the price of a drink. He loved painting, and when arthritis took his right
hand, Lever taught himself to paint with his left.  While it is true that Lever left behind a large cache
of unseen works painted during his more than twenty-five years of isolation lasting until his death at
his Mount Vernon home, we note that the State of New York has recently indicted one art dealer for
forgeries that included works supposedly signed by this artist.
We are wary of what appear to us to be
more and more China-painting-factory forgeries of late-period works. Collectors should contact us for
a professional opinion.
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Artist Name:        Richard Hayley Lever
Artist Dates:        
1876 - 1958        
Title:                  
The Gowanus Canal
Painting Date:      
Undated, ca. 1919      
Medium:             
Oil on Artist Board
Signature:            Signed Lower
Left
      Provenance:         Private
Collection
     
Condition:            
Very Good
Size Unframed:    10 1/4 x 14   
Artist Best Price:   
$159,625
Offered At:           CALL         
Curator's Comments: Nowhere do we see
Lever's wonderful Fauvism better expressed than
in his New York harbor scenes, and especially so
in the small yet masterful Gowanus Canal (which
we are very proud to offer). Lever has put all of
Brooklyn’s powerful industrial expansion into
a brilliant single image that portrays the
Williamsburg Bank building (the borough’s
tallest) and the St. George hotel (once New Yorkâ
€™s largest) poised alongside the industrial canal
with its bascule bridges raised for a freighter
being tugged out to the open harbor. The
elements are monumental, but Lever has
captured them with a fascinating and magnetic
simplicity. The Gowanus canal, named after a
Chief of the Canarsee Indians, was an
engineering wonder, completed in 1868 and
followed by George “Skyscraper� Post’s
bank building finished in 1875 and then by
Augustus Hatfield's 1885 massive Hotel St.
George. This is an extremely important
American work where using a contrived
perspective Lever sets down Brooklyn's three
biggest symbols as though they were children's
blocks, to capture the magnificent innocence
and  energy of pre-Depression American
industrial society.  Lever’s work dates to the
early 1920s, and certainly prior to his post-1930
withdrawal and the construction of the (view
blocking) Gowanus Expressway soon after WWII.
Brilliant New Hayley Levers For Town Or Country!
Artist Name:        Richard Hayley Lever
Artist Dates:        
1876 - 1958        
Title:           
Early Spring in Woodstock
Painting Date:      Undated, ca. 1920      
Medium:             
Oil on Canvas
Signature:            Signed Lower
Left
      Provenance:         Spanierman
Collection
Condition:            Very Good
Size Unframed:    30 1/2 x 26 1/2   
Artist Best Price:   
$159,625
Offered At:           CALL         
Curator's Comments: Woodstock became a
retreat for artists at the turn of the century, and
the Woodstock Artists Association is one of the
oldest continuing organizations of its kind. Its
founders included painters John F. Carlson and  
Andrew Dasburg. Other craftsman and painters
had come as early as 1903 to live at Ralph
Whitehead’s Byrdcliffe, which became a center
of the Arts and Crafts Movement. In 1916, Birge
Harrison brought the Art Students League to a
summer campus in Woodstock. Lever began
teaching for the League in New York in 1919 and
soon was spending summers in Woodstock.
Others  found camaraderie and a place to call
home “on the Maverick,� a progressive
community founded by poet and writer Hervey
White. Early members of the association included
painters George Bellows,  Robert Henri, Rockwell
Kent, Leon Kroll and  Eugene Speicher. In his
Early Spring in Wood-stock, Lever captures the
total sense of the arts colony as a retreat nestled
against Overlook Mountain. Early spring signifies
the moment when creation emerges as Lever's
greens prevail. His vision was years ahead of his
time--when it comes to what Woodstock would
come to mean after 1969. We have always wanted
a big Lever because they are very scarce--less
than 50 out of 1000 known oils are more than 14
inches tall, and his large canvases command a
premium.
This Woodstock Oil Brought $15,000
Another View of Overlook Mountain
Lever at Sixty