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Barton S. Hays (1826 - 1914)

Artist Barton Stone Hays was born in Greenville, Ohio in 1826.   He was self-taught and began his career painting portraits of the early citizens of Wingate, Covington and Attica, Ohio.  While in Attica (ca. 1851), Hays, an abolitionist, painted two panoramas relating to Uncle Tom's Cabin shortly after its publication; both of which were great successes.

After moving to Indianapolis in 1858, he went into partnership with daguerreotypist William Runnion and continued to paint portraits, becoming one of the city's leading painters.  He was also an important art teacher, working at McLean's Female Seminary as well as serving as one of the major teachers of young students in the private capacity.  Among his students were William Merritt Chase and John W. Love.

In 1869 he was commissioned to execute the portrait of former Governor of Indiana William Henry Harrison, who also served as president of the United States.   He moved to Cincinnati in 1870 but soon returned to Indianapolis.  In 1882 Hays moved to Minneapolis, where he seems to have focused most of his attention on still life art for which he is best-known today: small table-top compositions of realistically rendered fruit set against a soft, atmospheric background. He passed away in Minneapolis in 1914.

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