Feb 06, 2007 - Sale 2102

Sale 2102 - Lot 7

Price Realized: $ 45,600
Show Hammer Price?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 30,000 - $ 50,000
PALMER HAYDEN (1890 - 1973)
The Watermelon Race.

Watercolor on buff wove paper, 1930. 255x470 mm; 10 1/4x18 1/2 inches (sight). Canson Vidalon watermark. Signed, titled and dated in watercolor, lower right.

Provenance: Ex-collection the artist's wife, Miriam A. Hayden; Camille Billops, New York.

This work is a powerful example of Palmer Hayden treading the line between racial stereotypes of blacks and creative observations of popular culture. Palmer Hayden was one of the first twentieth century black artists to move to Paris, setting out to meet the resident master Henry Ossawa Tanner in 1927. Palmer was able to pay for his passage with the support of a wealthy admirer of his work, his employer, Alice Miller Dike, and his $400 prize from winning the Harmon Foundation gold medal that year. Leininger-Miller suggests Hayden seemed to take advantage of a society that would release the famous press release: "Negro Housecleaner will Study Art in Europe", that he produced loaded images with a studied naïveté. The artist said "I never had any desire to paint anything about Africa. I painted what Negroes, colored people, us Americans do....we're a brand new race, raised and manufactured in the U.S. I do like to paint what they did." Palmer Hayden painted his famous watercolor of his friends card-playing in the billard halls of Paris, Nous Quatre à Paris at about the same time, circa 1930. Theresa Leininger-Miller, New Negro Artists in Paris, p. 102.