Artist Biography

William Jacob Hays Sr.

(1830 - 1875)

Table of Contents

    William Jacob Hays, Sr. was a talented nineteenth-century artist known for his landscape and wildlife paintings. He resided in New York City and kept a studio in the famous Tenth Street Studio Building, where he worked alongside such noted artists as Frederic Church, Sanford Gifford, and Martin Heade. In 1860, he took a five-month trip out west, traveling up the Missouri River to the Yellowstone River, recording breathtaking expanses of the Great Plains, the Dakotas and Montana. Hays used his field sketches to produce atmospheric paintings of the American West, which served as early documentations of vast, unexplored lands. Inspired by seventeenth-century Dutch landscapes, he composed landscapes with low horizons and expansive skies, populated only by wildlife. Hays exhibited at the National Academy of Design, the Society of Independent Artists, the Salmagundi Club, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; his work is currently featured in the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Wyoming.

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