W.Va. University will house Hayslette collection | Kitsap Week

A self-portrait of the artist, ‘Make That a Double,’ an original 2008 oil on loan from West Virginia University.  - Max Hayslette
A self-portrait of the artist, ‘Make That a Double,’ an original 2008 oil on loan from West Virginia University.
— image credit: Max Hayslette

Chances are, even if you don’t know Max Hayslette you are familiar with his work.

His abstracts and landscapes are represented in more than 350 private, corporate and public collections. His paintings have been available as custom art through Ethan Allen Interiors. His dreamy landscapes of French vineyards and Italian coasts are widely available as posters. Remember “Friends” Season 5 Episode 3, when Phoebe gives birth to triplets? Hayslette’s art adorns the hospital room wall.

Hayslette, a Kingston resident who hails from Rupert, W.Va., is now being honored by West Virginia University, which will house the Max Hayslette Archives Collection at its Morgantown campus.

It’s an appropriate honor for an artist with Hayslette’s prolific career, but this octogenarian is not showing signs of slowing. He moved from a secluded studio in Eglon to a studio and gallery on Highway 104 in downtown Kingston, where he periodically hosts Martinis with Max. In April, he was named a Distinguished West Virginian by that state’s governor. In July, his “George and the Boogie Woogie” was unveiled at Roby King Galleries’ “Americana” show; “George” features the first president against a colorful abstract background.

Hayslette was born in 1930 and graduated from Chicago’s Academy of Art in 1951. He studied under artist/sculptor Alexander Archipenko, who was connected to the Bauhaus movement, one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture and modern design. The Bauhaus had a profound influence upon art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography; many of the movement’s driving personalities were living and working in Chicago when Hayslette arrived there to study art.

Hayslette worked for Olson Designers in Chicago, an industrial design firm specializing in exhibits. In 1962, he moved to Seattle to join Berg Craftsman, and designed exhibits for the 1962, 1964 and 1967 World’s Fairs. His design work for Pacific Northwest Bell and Boeing received national attention.

In 1972, he founded Olympus Graphics on Bainbridge, producing large-scale, abstract serigraphs for the design and corporate art market.Having explored numerous artistic styles and images, it remains the creative process that is most important to Hayslette. “Every image begins in my head,” he told Global Gallery. “Memory colored by imagination is the root from which my images grow.

“As is my practice in all of my paintings, I choose a subject — sometimes more than one — study it or them well, and then mentally disassemble the parts, mixing and reassembling them into a new image with a new spirit, which is my own.”


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