Hayden arrived in Paris from Warsaw in 1922 where after a degree in engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique, he studied fine arts and lived in the Latin Quarter. He assiduously visited the Louvre and found a passion for the work of Cézanne (he saw the artist's retrospective in 1908) to the point of ignoring the parallel research of his contemporaries. He later confided: "I only absorbed cubism in 1915, after having swallowed and digested all of French painting in a few years. This rapid absorption led me to a spirit of synthesis corresponding , without my knowledge, to the research of Picasso and Braque at this time." (Anisabelle Berès & Michel Arveiller Au temps des cubists 1910-1920, Paris, 2006, p.252). Adolphe Basler, a polish art critic, introduced him to the champion of Cubism, André Salmon. During the war, Hayden moved to a new studio on the boulevard Raspail not far from Picasso (who had just finished painting The Harlequin today in the collection of the MoMA), Severini and Metzinger. Despite the war, Montparnasse was in full swing and Hayden befriended Matisse, Max Jacob, Cocteau, Gris and Lipchitz. The latter recommended him to Léonce Rosenberg whose gallery L'Effort Moderne was the home of the avant-garde. Hayden's contract with Rosenberg was signed in 1916 and his works exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1918 are marked as being the property of the dealer.
Nature morte is a beautiful example of the way in which Hayden has succeeded in making the rigour of cubist grammar his own, without giving up a refinement which constitutes the painter's noble and fierce originality. In the Cubist genre par excellence of the still-life, Hayden succeeds in creating a new sensation of space through superposed lines and planes and the juxtaposition of warm and cold colours.
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