French 1864–1940
In the café (1888)
(Au café)
encaustic on calico
23.0 x 18.5 cm
Private collection
Photo: © Vincent Girier Dufournier

Drawn to the new leisure activities available to citizens in a rapidly transforming Paris, Hayet frequented cafes, music halls and circus spectacles, leaving us with evocative atmospheric records of these recreational milieus. In the café conjures up the comforting fug of a Parisian watering-hole. Fascinated by what he termed 'coloured orchestration', as well as by capturing light, Hayet often painted on semitransparent cotton that changed in luminosity when placed over differently coloured grounds. He also worked with encaustic – drawn to this ancient medium's ability to retain colours permanently – and blended pigments himself with wax and other substances.