Robert Beverly Hale (1901-1985)
Robert Beverly Hale (1901-1985). A Religious Argument, 1960. Oil on canvas, 46 x 58 inches; 48 x 60 inches framed. Signed lower left. Titled on upper stretcher bar en verso.
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Robert Beverly Hale (1901 -November 14, 1985) was an artist, curator of American paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and instructor of artistic anatomy at the Art Students League of New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. He was also the author of the well-known book Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters as well as the translator of the classic anatomy text Artistic Anatomy by Dr. Paul Richer.
Hale was born into a prominent family in Boston, Massachusetts, but grew up in New York City, and studied at Columbia University, where he did post-graduate work at the School of Architecture. He also studied at the Art Students League under George Bridgman and William McNulty, and at the Sorbonne in Paris.
From 1942 to 1949 Hale worked as Editorial Associate for Art News magazine. In 1949 he became curator for contemporary American art at the Metropolitan Museum. A long-time Instructor of Drawing and Lecturer on Anatomy at the League, and Adjunct Professor of Drawing at Columbia, Hale taught and wrote on the principles of chiaroscuro and observation from life, encouraging his students to see and draw forms in nature as the geometric “mass conceptions” of cylinders, cubes, or spheres. His lectures at the League included demonstrations of life-size figure drawings, much as had those of his teacher and predecessor, George Brandt Bridgman.
Hale’s draftsmanship was featured in one-man shows at the Stamford Museum and at the Staempfli Gallery in New York. In addition to several books on drawing, Hale authored numerous articles, including one on drawing in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and an entry on The History of American Painting for the Grolier Encyclopaedia. He also had verse and fiction published in The New Yorker and Mademoiselle magazines.
His careers as instructor, curator, and artist were apt to overlap: according to Hale, “One day in East Hampton de Kooning came up to my little studio there and said that I was ruining any number of people by telling them about anatomy”.
In 1961 Hale married Nike Mylonas, an art historian and the daughter of George E. Mylonas. The Hales had two children, Alexander Curzon Hale and Evelyn Everett Hale.