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 naif 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
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Artist Name:       Richard Hayley Lever
Artist Dates:       
1876 - 1958        
The Gowanus Canal
Painting Date:    
Undated, ca. 1919      
Oil on Artist Board
Signature:           Signed Lower Left       
Private Collection      
Very Good
Size Unframed:   10 1/4 x 14   
Artist Top Price:
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        
Woodstock Spring
Painting Date:    Undated, ca. 1920      
Oil on Canvas
Signature:          Signed Lower Left       
Spanierman Collection
Very Good
Size Unframed:  30 1/2 x 26 1/2   
Artist Top Price:
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 in 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