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John Haley (1905 - 1991)
Haley received his art education at the Minneapolis School of Art. He was awarded the Ethel Morrison Van Derlip scholarship, giving him the opportunity to travel to Europe and study for a year under Han Hoffman in Munich. Hoffman's cubist forms molded Haley's style of painting.
Next stop was Berkeley, California. Haley accepted a position to become a teacher at the University of California. He became known for promoting the Modernist movement through his teachings. In the 1930s and 40s, he focused on watercolor painting and was known for his innovative use of opaque watercolors. He began exhibiting with the California Watercolor Society in 1942. However, in the mid 1950s, his style and subject matter turned from realistic Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism.
Haley was drafted into the United States Naval Reserve in 1943. He was requested to draw every detail of the Surrounding areas for invasion strategies. Then he was sent to Normandy, Sicily and the Pacific Islands. In 1945 Haley returned to U.C. Berkeley after an honorable discharge from the military.
Haley is credited with building one of the strongest art departments in the country. Thus the term "Berkeley School" came to be under his helm. The "Berkeley School" artists were watercolorists whose works were defined by their linear, graphic shapes. Haley taught at the University for over 40 years.
Throughout his life, Haley experimented in different styles of painting. He worked in sculpture, etchings and photography, studying for a time with Ansel Adams.
He retired from teaching in 1972 after building an impressive reputation as a teacher, mentor and artist.