A New Zealand artist signed into the St Ives Arts Club in March 1901 by the Australian David DAVIES, and assumed by Tovey to have been a pupil of his at the time. Recently (2011) a grandson has been in touch with Tovey and provided much greater detail of his grandfather's time in Europe and Cornwall.
Hales was the son of a Warwickshire-born Englishman who began his working career as a piano-tuner in London (1851 Census) but who appears to have made good money from gold mining in both Australia and New Zealand, where he emigrated in the mid-1850s. Samuel Hales, named for his father (also Samuel) was born in Dunedin. His father died when he was 16, and his mother, 30 years her husband's junior, financed his art training first locally, then with the Otago Art Society from 1892, then moving to Paris in 1894. In Paris he enrolled at the Julian Atelier, and met amongst others the Hungarian painter Karoly Kernstock, who painted his portrait. In the mid 1890s he spent time in Etaples, and studied under the American, Max Bohm, and making a friend of James Quinn. His painting La Nuit from Etaples was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1897. He also exhibited there in the following year with a marine painting, before moving on to Switzerland.
In 1901 he determined to study with David DAVIES in Lelant, and found lodgings with Mrs Elizabeth Jones in Higher Lelant. His grandson comments that 'as a result of his time with Davies, his style became more impressionist.' Another art student of the time, James MACDONALD, found in a photo standing by Hales, became his first biographer.
Hales returned to Paris in 1902 becoming a partner in the Paris American Art Company and settling with his wife, a fellow art student, Elizabeth Blair Thomson (1877-1969) there. Two acquaintances that he had made in Cornwall were the Australians Will ASHTON and Richard Hayley LEVER, and they arrived in Paris for the winter of 1903-4. From that period Ashton became a lifelong friend, but for Lever he had no time.
Hales also re-established contact with David DAVIES when the latter settled in Dieppe in 1908, and he and his wife spent time with the Davies family every summer until 1914 and the outbreak of war. Hales stayed with the Paris American Art Co until 1947, which limited his output though not extinguishing it altogether. His firm served many artists, including the Americans, Sidney Elmer SCHOFIELD, George OBERTEUFFER and Richard Emil MILLER, all of whom worked in St Ives, and he enjoyed their company.
Painter of landscapes and marines
works and access
misc further info
Family correspondent (with thanks!)
Tovey (2009) St Ives: Social History;