Abstract Painting by Jewell Haley – Mid Century Modern Art

Haley Painting

Two weeks after doing a post all about original mid-century paintings and artwork I happened to stumble across one of the best pieces of original art I’ve found in a long time, one of my all time best finds.  The painting is an abstract expressionist piece done by Jewell Haley, who was an art professor at Thomas More college in Kentucky, very close to Cincinnati, Ohio.  Even better the painting is HUGE coming in at a massive 47×49 inches, I left a small portion of my couch in the photo so you could get a true sense of the scale.  The painting is dated June 3, 1965 and titled on the back “Dark Banner.”

Haley was born on on October 24, 1927 and passed away on Saturday, August 29, 2009.

I’ve come across of some of her later abstract painting (in a more 1980’s style) at a few galleries and a few paintings she did of human figures (all women), some good, some not so good.  Haley’s abstract work, especially the work she did in the 1950’s and 60’s, is impressive and right up my alley.

It seems the sale of her estate resulted in number of her paintings entering the marketplace, including my painting.  The problem with artist’s estates being sold is you get some great new paintings as well as studies and “paintings never meant to be seen/ I was just keeping the canvas to paint over one day” types of works.  It makes no difference to the people selling the estate, as a general rule, if the paintings were completed works or half-finished studies. They sell everything they find in the estate, which I’m sure has left some artists rolling in their graves.

Jewell Haley Signature & date on painting
Jewell Haley Signature & date on painting

I won’t complain however because its events like these that allow me to buy some really extraordinary pieces of original art.  I don’t think there could be a more perfect painting for my living room.  Eventually I’ll post some shots of the entire lounge so it can be put in perspective along with lots of the other pieces I write about on here.



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  1. I have several of her pieces including on of her only existing small sculptures, her only known existent roller print and a host of her early pencil sketches. I have one of the paint on panel pieces (abstract) from the early 80’s, and a realistic painting of a female model from the 70’s. I also have a crayoned sketch of a tree. I was the model for the eyes in the piece that was donated to Campbell County High School and for her work from ’87 until ’91, and Virginia Krebs was the primary model for the pieces from the late 70’s-early 80’s. Louise Okun is the short haired model in several of the pieces from the 80’s.

    In each of the abstract pieces there is specific meaning, especially when you see numbers in the shapes.

  2. I too happened upon a Jewell Haley Painting. Like yours, it is also quite large (48″ x 28″ – Acrylic or oil on board. It was of an African American male, sitting in a chair resting from a workout (loosely draped in a towel, holding a dumbell in one hand and what appears to be a juggling club in the other) Loved the composition, colors used and abstracted style of painting. Got it for a steal ($90) I guess, part of the reason was because it was a “local pick-up only” on ebay. I gambled, trusted my gut, and arranged for a local packing company to pick it up and deliver it to me (about 150.00) It promptly arrived, wonderfully packed. I re-framed it and it’s worth EVERY penny and much more to me now.

  3. I also have a painting of hers from 1965. It is an abstract painting an got it for $5. I would love to know the true value of it.

    • The value lies in your appreciation of it. There is no particular “market” for Jewel Hadley’s paintings and markets are what establish a monetary value. I’ve seen a few pieces of her work pop up on eBay sell for nominal sums, though eBay isn’t a great indicator it’s about as close as you will come in establishing an actual “value.” Save a search for her name on eBay and you can watch for paintings that actually sell (as opposed to whatever price a seller decides to put on it) to establish a accurate value for her work.

      I do believe, however, good abstract work by mid century artists does have great appeal depending on the work itself. I’ve been offered many times more than what I paid, which wasn’t much, for the painting I posted about. It’s an extremely large, original mid century abstract. If your home is decorated in that style such an original work has great appeal.

      In the actual art market I doubt there would be much interest of value at the present time, that could change. However, it would hold more attraction and possible value, for people interested in mid century design and having period specific art and paintings in their home.

      The point of my post was at the present time you can find some wonderful examples of good art from the period quite cheaply, because until the art market takes an interest in an artist (and this occurs for a variety of reasons) their work isn’t valued highly.

  4. Melissa Watkins April 20, 2015 — 11:47 pm

    I had the privilege of being her student while I was in high school. She was a great inspiration and had a contagious spunky attitude. She sponsored me for a summer program and an after school program at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.
    I moved to another state and lost contact with her. I would love to find one if her pieces.

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