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Estimate: $ 35,000 - $ 50,000
PALMER HAYDEN (1890 - 1973) The Blue Nile.
Watercolor and gouache on thick wove paper, 1964. 546x673 mm; 21 1/2x26 1/2 inches. Signed and dated in watercolor, lower right.
Provenance: the artist's wife, Miriam A. Hayden; Camille Billops, New York.
Exhibited: Two Centuries of Black American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, September 30 - November 21, 1976, (traveling exhibition to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, and the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn.)
Illustrated: Bearden, Romare and Harry B. Henderson, Jr., A History of African-American Artists, pl. xxvi; The African American Review. Department of English, Indiana State University, 1992, front cover.
This wonderful watercolor is one of Palmer Hayden's most evocative paintings, particularly from the latter part of his career. With its image of a reclining African mother and child sleeping below the river scene, it has a dream-like quality. This aspect is described by Romare Bearden and Harry Henderson in their A History of African-American Artists: "Hayden was often inspired by dreams. This watercolor is a dream about black life on the Nile in the time of the pharaohs. Like much of his work, it expresses his slyly ironic sense of humor." Due to its inclusion in their book and in the 1976 landmark national exhibition Two Centuries of Black American Art organized by David C. Driskell, The Blue Nile is one of Hayden's best known paintings today - it also inspired a painting by Robert Colescott. Bearden/Henderson pl. xxvi.