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Hays, George Arthur

George Arthur Hays (1854-1945) is one of Rhode Island's most popular 19th-century artists. He was born in Greenville, New Hampshire and spent his adult life in Providence, keeping a studio at the Woods Building on College Street. Hays was a member of the Providence Art Club, where he exhibited from 1888 to 1940, the Society for Independent Artists, the Copley Society, and the Providence Water Color Club. Self-taught, Hays painted in oils and watercolors and is best known for tranquil landscapes featuring cows and sheep. Records indicate that he painted scenery for "Keith's Circuit," and for Boston's Park Theatre in 1887. His works have an enduring charm that have endeared them to generations of collectors, and his penchant for depicting grazing livestock, whether singly or in flocks, in bucolic settings, seemingly never flagged. Stylistically, Hays' works seem to derive their inspiration from the Barbizon School and French animal portraiture, an offshoot of the Barbizon tradition that dignified work animals, imbuing them with a sense of patient endurance and uncomplaining service. Hays often created companion paintings, one of sheep and another of cows, but rarely combined the two animals within the same composition.

Title: Moonlight Night in the Village
Medium: oil on canvas, signed lower left, dated and inscribed verso, 12" x 16"