Hayden is associated with the Harlem Renaissance movement. Born in Virginia, he was initially self taught. Around 1920 Hayden went to New York City and studied with Victor Perard at Cooper Union, and then later in Boothbay Harbor, Maine at the Commonwealth Art Colony. From 1927-1932 he studied and painted in Paris, focusing more on genre scenes, less on seascapes. Returning to New York City, his focus was African-American subject matter.
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