#Palmer Hayden was an extraordinary painter during his time. Like so many African-Americans Hayden became recognized for his talent during the Harlem Renaissance. Hayden was born “Peyton Cole Hedgeman” in Wide Water, Virginia. Hayden had a passion for drawing as a young boy, and was inspired to draw by his older brother. He enjoyed drawing landscapes of the surrounding countryside.
During Hayden’s teen years he moved to Washington, D. C to find work. He became a porter and errand boy. He began drawing sailboats and fishing scenery, but when he tried to pursue a career in art he ran into racism. He would often be called in for an interview but when the employers saw the he was #Black he was turned away. He later practiced independent studies at Boothbay Art Colony in Maine. When Hayden was aged 36, he won $400 and a gold medal for his painting Schooners. He submitted five paintings total to the Harmon Arts Foundation.
Hayden became most famous for his artistic style of painting African-American life using both oils and watercolors. One of his most famous art pieces is the still life he created in 1926 entitled “Fetiche et Fleurs.” Hayden lived in Paris for five years and when he returned worked for the U.S Treasury Art Project. His paintings were often of the life which surrounded him. He mainly focused on the African-American experience.
Palmer Hayden created a painting series on African-American folk hero John Henry. This series consisted of 12 works and took 10 years to complete. Another one Hayden’s most famous pieces shows John Henry, who was said to have been a strong, heroic man who used a hammer to create railroads and tunnel through mountains. Hayden had several other art contributions as well. He died at the age of 83.