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 Hayes Lyon  (1909 - 1987)

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Lived/Active: California/Colorado/Texas/Kansas      Known for: American scene painting, automobiles, portraits and nudes

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Family moved to Boulder, CO in 1920.  Earned a BA at the Univ. of Colorado in 1931 and a BFA from the Univ. of Denver in 1937.  Studied with Jozef Bakos, John Thompson, and Andrew Dasburg.  Lyon joined the army in 1942 and was stationed in Africa, Italy and the
Mediterranean Theater.  Three years later he was asked to be a professor of oil painting
at the Univ. of Texas at Austin by Ward Lockwood where he started teaching in 1946.  He stayed until 1951 and from there he went to the Lower Colorado River Authority in Austin where he was an illustrator and art editor. Lived in New Mexico in 1953.

Exhibitions: Denver Art Museum, 1937, 1939-41; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts,
1938; Art Institute of Chicago, 1938; World’s Fair, New York, 1939; Colorado Springs
Fine Art Center, 1940, 1941, 1946; National Gallery of Art, 1941; Denver Art Museum,
1942; Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities, 1991. Awards: Denver Art Museum,
1939; Federal Art Project, 1941.

Collections: Denver Art Museum; Ft. Lupton (CO) Library.
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1936-1953; AskART,, accessed Dec. 21, 2007.
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

Biography from Norm Anderson Fine Art:
The artist Hayes Lyon was born in Athol, Kansas and remained there until his father moved the family to Boulder, Colorado in 1920.  Hayes spent his teenage years in Boulder.  His impressionable teen years were nurtured by the grand music of the famed 1920’s orchestras.  During his career he would paint several of the orchestras playing the music that had influenced him early on.  Hayes’ father owned a lumber company while in Boulder, and in 1929 opened a lumber company in Denver.  The family settled in Denver with Hayes staying in Boulder to attend college.

In 1931, Hayes earned a bachelors degree in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  The economic degree would prove fruitless as his first love; painting, would take center stage in 1932 when he enrolled at the Chappell School of Art in Denver (present day Denver Art Museum).  During Hayes five year term at the school, he had opportunity to meet, study under and become life long friends with Jozef Bakos, one of the founders of the first modernist painting group of Santa Fe, “Los Cinco Pintores'.  Hayes also studied under Colorado artist John Thompson.  During an exhibit at the Chappell House, Hayes had the opportunity to meet Santa Fe artists Willard Nash and B.J.O. Nordfelt. In 1937, after the Chappel House was absorbed by the University of Denver, he was awarded a Bachelors of Fine Art.

Directly after earning his degree from the University of Denver, Hayes began a period of under study with artist Andrew Dasburg.  Although the immediate period of tutelage was 1937 to 1938, Hayes would continue to enlist the mind and skills of Andrew Dasburg through out his career.  Through the years of their many dealings Hayes acquired several of Dasburg's paintings.

1936 marked the first of Hayes exhibiting his paintings. T he Denver Art Museum held his first solo show.  Several more museums held solos shows including Santa Barbara, Fort Worth, University of Illinois, The University of Colorado at Boulder and Denver. It is from this point that Hayes art was displayed out of state and nationally.

In 1938 the Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago displayed his painting Hillside.  Also in 1938 Mount Evans was exhibited at the Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and at the 1939 Worlds Fair in New York.

1940 brought the installation of three murals at the Ft. Lupton, Colorado high school. Today the murals reside in the Ft. Lupton library. 

The achievements for 1941 included the entry, Standley Lake being at the Exhibition of Paintings by Artists West of the Mississippi at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and Conifers and Canyons winning an award at the Denver Art Museum Exhibition.  The Denver Art Museum hosted a showing of his watercolors in 1942.

One month after the watercolor show Hayes Lyon joined the army.  While serving in the army, he was stationed in Africa, Italy and the Mediterranean Theater.

Three years later, 1945, he was asked to be a professor of oil painting at the University of Texas at Austin by Ward Lockwood where he started teaching in 1946. He stayed until 1951, and from there he went to the Lower Colorado River Authority in Austin where he was an illustrator and art editor.

Hayes Lyon went on to very elite and coveted exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., The Pennsylvania Academy, Chicago Art Institute, Kansas City Art Institute, Carnegie Institute, Joslyn Memorial, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, Texas.

Hayes painted very little between 1951 and his retirement in 1961.  From 1961 through 1977, Hayes painted almost exclusively from memory recreating 1930’s and 1940’s images.  Severe cataracts and the effects of Alzheimer’s finished Hayes painting career.

Hayes Lyon died in 1987.

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