The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Pierre Célice.
Sale: Christie's, London, May 24, 1990, lot 144 Private Collection (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby's, Paris, June 3, 2010, lot 79) Acquired at the above sale
This delightful still-life composition from 1918 illustrates the Cubist virtuosity and manifest talent as a colorist for which Henri Hayden would become famous.
Born in Warsaw, Hayden first studied engineering before devoting himself entirely to painting. In 1907 he moved to Paris where he studied briefly at the Académie deLa Palette, a hub of the avant-garde whose future instructors would include Henri Le Fauconnier and Jean Metzinger. Hayden became increasingly interested in the work of Cézanne and in 1915 moved to a studio on the Boulevard Raspail on the Left Bank, near Metzinger, Severini and Picasso. He began to rub shoulders with the artists of the Montparnasse group including Gris, Lipchitz, Jacob, Matisse and Cocteau. Before long, carried along by the spirit of emulation that pervaded Montparnasse, Hayden had converted to Cubism with what Salmon would describe as "a considered enthusiasm, dissociating color from form and reducing objects to elliptical signs. Hayden adhered to Cubism, having already produced a great deal, in order to acquire a great deal of himself" (quoted in Anisabelle Berès & Michel Arveiller, Au temps des cubistes 1910- 1920, Paris, 2006, p. 252).
The artist himself would declare several years later: "I only absorbed Cubism in 1915, after having swallowed and digested all of French painting in a few years. This rapid absorption led me, in a spirit of creative synthesis, without even realising, to Picasso and Braque's experimentation at the time" (quoted in ibid., p. 252).
In this elegantly accomplished still life,Hayden demonstrates a veritable flare for surface handling, trompe l'oeil effects and inventive lines: the surface of the painting is dextrously divided into juxtaposed, contrasting textures, forms and colors that transform the everyday subject matter into a vibrant hymn to painting itself.
The canvas is not lined. Close inspection reveals some very minor stable hairline craquelure, notably in the dark green, black and beige pigments in the upper part of the composition. There are two indentations to the extreme edges of the canvas: in the upper left and upper right corners, with some frame abrasion along the edges. Under UV light, a 1cm spot appears to fluoresce in the white pigment near the left edge, otherwise this work is in very good condition. In response to your inquiry, 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 Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.