Born in Adelaide, Australia, Hayley Lever was known for his town-shore landscapes and still-life painting in a style that combined impressionism with vivid colors and strong lines of realism---post impressionism. In his use of color, he was deeply influenced by Vincent Van Gogh. He freely explored numerous styles based on impressionism but was never locked into any particular style.
He showed early art talent and traveled to England in 1893. He studied art in London and then painted at an artists' colony in Cornwall on the seacoast of St. Ives where he began his seacoast paintings. He received much attention in Europe for these works. In 1908, he did a series of paintings called "Van Gogh's Hospital, Holland" expressing the profound influence he felt of that artist.
Lever came to America in 1911, encouraged by American artist Ernest Lawson whom he knew in France, and was soon counted among the most widely exhibited artists in New York City. Many of his scenes were of Manhattan. He had a summer studio in Gloucester, Massachusetts and from 1919 to 1931 taught at the Art Students League in New York City. He also became Director of the Studio Art Club in Mount Vernon, New York.
Lever imparted to his students the following message: "Art is the re-creation of mood in line, form and color. If I were confined to my own back yard for the rest of my life, I'd still have more pictures in my mind than I would have time to paint. Art is nothing but having a good time" (Comenos Fine Art).
He died in Mount Vernon, New York in 1958, having suffered ill health the last few years of his life.
He received many awards and critical acclaim and his works were purchased by major American museums, such as New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Washington's Phillips Collection and Corcoran Museum.
Michael David Zellman, "Three Hundred Years of American Art"