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H. Lyman Saÿen Portrait

H. Lyman Saÿen

Also Known as: Henry Lyman Saÿen, H. Lyman Sayen

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1875

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1918

Active in:

  • Paris, France

Photo Caption:
Courtesy Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Quote

"To paint today is to make a beautiful object . . . It is the making of reality, not the representation of it." Artist's speech, 1914, in Breeskin, H. Lyman Saÿen, 1970

Luce Artist Biography

Henry Lyman Saÿen worked as an artist and scientist throughout his career. He acquired several patents for his inventions, which included a new type of X-ray tube and a steel billiard ball. He traveled to Paris in 1906 to produce illustrations for a New York department store and joined Henri Matisse's class. Saÿen was one of the first painters to introduce modern art into the conservative culture of Philadelphia, and his large vibrant images of landscapes and still lifes shocked many people. An assistant at the department store even told the artist that "if that is the way you paint you will never put shoes on your child's feet." World War I forced Saÿen to return to Philadelphia, where he spent his weekends at his friend Carl Newman's summer home, painting the Huntington Valley landscape. (Breeskin, H. Lyman Saÿen, 1970)