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palmer hayden | collection
The forty Palmer Hayden paintings in the permanent collection of The Museum of African American Art include three of Hayden's most important paintings: Fetiche et Fleurs, 1933; Midsummer Night in Harlem, 1936; and Baptizing Day, 1946; as well as the John Henry series, dating from 1944 to 1947. According to Hayden, John Henry, the legendary railroad hero, signified "the beginning of the movement of the Negro from agricultural into industrial labor."
After searching the country foran appropriate repository for her husband's work, the late Miriam Hayden elected to bequeath these forty paintings to the permanent collection of The Museum of African American Art. Mrs. Hayden selected MAAA with the understanding that the museum fulfill her wishes to preserve the collection and promote a wider appreciation of Palmer Hayden's work through public exhibitions.
This text was excerpted and adapted from printed materials developed under guest curator Allan M. Gordon, PhD, for the 1988 exhibit Echoes of Our Past: The Narrative Artistry of Palmer C. Haydenat The Museum of African American Art.