The Performance Artist

The Performance Artist


“The Farmer’s Evening Chores” by Hays

The Performance Artist:
In 1879 he started a theater performance entitled “rapid art.” This fifteen minute performance showcased Hays’ skill. He would compose three paintings, “Niagara Falls,” “George Washington,” and the third would vary show to show. His first performance was at the old Theatre Comique on Weyboasset street in Providence. This act became so popular that he was offered an engagement at the Bowery Theater in New York City followed by another week in a theater in Newark. Hays performance sold so many tickets that the Kiralfy Brother, prominent managers of the day, gave him a lucrative offer to take his show on the road. Hays however, declined and returned to Providence to continue painting.

The Mystic:
Although Hays primarily painted livestock he was an accomplished portrait painter. In 1888 the may of Bridgeport Connecticut commissioned Hay to paint a portrait of his deceased wife. In order to render the image Hays had a single photograph and the mayor’s description. Time and time again the mayor discussed the color of his wife’s eyes. “As Hays worked on the portrait, he became convinced that the mayor had been mistaken as to the color of the eyes. As Hays used to relate the story, he invariable seemed to assume the manner of a mystic as he declared that the knowledge reached him that the mayor’s description had been incorrect. So he painted the eyes as he was “interiorly directed.” Needless to say—the portrait was a complete success and the artist received in payment a check considerably large that the price agreed upon.”

Biography, George Arthur Hays 1854-1945

George A Hays was born in Greenville New Hampshire on November 23, 1854 and died in Providence Rhode Island on April 15, 1945. From early on he studied the forms of horses, cattle and sheep at his family home in New Hampshire. He developed the ability to take a blank sheet of paper and cut out perfectly rendered animal forms this impressed many onlookers and George would offer them to visitors after signing them, “G.A. Hays.” His early study of New Hampshire animals and landscape lead him to deal mostly with this subject matter in his painting. His style was greatly influenced by the impressionist school and as H.A. Dyer remarked “His pictures have abundant realism couple with fine artistic feeling.”
He moved to Providence in 1869 and spent the next 75 years of his life painting prolifically. His works were widely collected; some art dealers even advised him to limit the number of painting she produced in a year. Few of his paintings were painted on site; rather, he evoked the memories of his childhood in New Hampshire to serves and the influence in his works. In 1880 he became on of the first members of the Providence Art Club and had his first show there in 1883. Animal painting was a popular subject matter in Europe at this time due to Rosa Bonheur and others but Hays helped to popularize this genre in the States.
Hays enjoyed a successful career in the arts. Some of his works presently hang in the Lambs Club and Raydon Gallery in New York, Shasta State historical monument in California and at the Art Museum of Roger Williams park and Providence Art Club in Rhode Island.