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Louis Hayet was born to a modest family in Pontoise, near Paris, and despite early evidence of considerable artistic and academic talents, he began his career as a travelling salesman.
Eventually joining with the Neo-Impressionist group of painters centred upon Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac and Georges Seurat, Hayet’s inherent predisposition for painting revealed itself as he experimented with colour, texture and light. Hayet established a friendship with Camille Pissarro, and Pissarro’s eldest son Lucien, a year after moving to Paris in 1885.
Curiously, Paul Signac removed mention of Hayet from the Pointillism manifesto. Yet, from his studios at Montmartre and La Frette, Hayet was a prolific artist who produced a diverse body of work that always sought to be true to the nature of colour itself.
Bearing the influence of Seurat, Hayet would often work en plein air with a fast-moving, decided technique that foreshadowed the evolution from Impressionism to Neo-Impressionism. He was drawn to themes such as the circus, modern urban scenes and landscapes.
The science-based principles of Neo-Impressionism followed Hayet to the end of his painting career, after which he dedicated his time to scientific research into pigments.