Lines and Colors art blog

Robert Beverly Hale by Daniel E. GreeneWhile preparing my post on Daniel E. Green I found an image of his incisive pastel portrait of Robert Beverly Hale (left).

Hale was probably the foremost teacher of figure drawing and artistic anatomy in America. He was Curator of the American Painting and Sculpture Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Instructor of Drawing and Lecturer on Anatomy at The Art Students League in New York, and Lecturer on Anatomy at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

When I was a student at the Academy I had the privilege of attending Hale’s lectures on artistic anatomy. I was pretty young at the time and unaware of Hale’s status or reputation as a teacher. To me he was just “the anatomy lecture guy”. His lectures, however, left no doubt that you were getting the real goods from someone who knew his subject in extraordinary depth. I began to realize just how good he was when I started to pick up his books.

Hale was the author or co-author of some of the best books ever written on figure drawing and artistic anatomy: “Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters: 100 Great Drawings Analyzed, Figure Drawing Fundamentals Defined,   Master Class in Figure Drawing,   Artistic Anatomy (with Dr. Paul Richer), and   “Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters” (with Terence Coyle).

All of them are excellent. Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters is my favorite book on artistic anatomy. Coyle took material from lectures by Hale, who really knew the work of the masters in addition to his knowledge of figure drawing and anatomy, included the corresponding images from Rembrandt, Rubens, Raphael, Michaelangelo, Pontormo, Leonardo, Prud’hon and others, and arranged them on opposing pages to illustrate important principles of artistic anatomy.

Hale’s quotes are accompanied by a diagram that Coyle has annotated so you know exactly what part of the master drawing Hale is referring to (image at left, below Daniel E. Green’s portrait of Hale). Wow, what a great way to learn artistic anatomy.



62 responses to “Robert Beverly Hale”

  1. i love his work, and how he teaches complex drawing in such a simple manner..he’s books are amazing!

    on a seperate note,

    would you like to be the next 30day artist?

  2. His anatomy lectures are available on VHS and DVD.

    The image quality is a little sketchy in places (the source is old B&W video tape) but the lectures are well worth it.

  3. I might also add that Edward Everett Hale, who wrote Man Without A Country, was his grandfather. There’s a great interview with him here:

  4. Ming, belated thanks for the comment, I don’t think I could take on being a 30 artist, but maybe some readers will be interested.

  5. Joseph, Thanks, both for the information about the videos of Hale teaching (frustratingly, a bit expensive for personal use, but what a great resource for schools!) and the tidbit that he is related to Edward Everett Hale and the link to the excellent interview!

  6. The Hale videos are expensive for personal use, but they are often available at good college libraries across the country for free.

    Southern Californians, for example, can watch them at Cal State Northridge for nothing more than the cost of $4 parking. You don’t have to be a student, but as a non-student you’ll have to remain on the premises and watch them on one of the many VHS machines available in the library.

  7. Great thought, Joseph. Thanks.

  8. Charley,
    Do you consider Hale to be among the avant-garde?

  9. I’m not sure I know what “avant-garde” really is. (I’m reminded of a quote: “Everything changes but the Avant-Garde.”)

    I do know that Hale associated with many of the artistic and literary figures who were prominent in the middle of the last century, including many Abstract Expressionists who were considered “avant-garde” at the time. See the link to the interview provided by Joseph Francis in comment #3 above.

  10. I once walked into a lecture Robert Beverly Hale was giving at the Acadamy in Philadelphia. He was drawing for everyone and I believe it was blown up somehow and projected large. It must have been because the room was packed, and my memory was how mezmorized I was with the confidence of his rendering and the knowledge that every line represented some anatomical structure. There was nothing unnecessary, everything essential. The room was electric. Large crowd, the only sound was of Mr. Hale.
    I didn’t know it was Mr. Hale until the end of the lecture. When I realized it was the man who authored my favorite anatomy book,
    I understood why I was so blown away.

  11. Bev,

    Thanks for your account. I wish I had been more aware of how remarkable Hale was when I had the opportunity to study with him, but then I can say that about several of my instructors at the Academy.

  12. Thank you for actualy having some information on Robert Beverly Hale. I didn’t need to buy a book I just needed some info for a test, this is perfect.
    Brittany, OR

  13. Wow, what an amazing portrait. Hard to believe that’s a pastel

  14. Tom Hall Avatar
    Tom Hall

    As the person who made the video tapes of Hale’s lectures I was always in awe of the man. He would casually draw on a tall blackboard with a piece of black chalk, on the end of a long stick, the most beautiful drawings you’ve ever seen.
    At his apartment, I was surprised to see that he was an abstract painter. I saw his sketch book once. It was totally intimidating to this art student. He truly was a master draftsman.
    The tapes came about because some members of the Board of Control at the time wanted to make a movie about Hale. As it turns out, the proponents of this endeavor were looking mainly to line their own pockets. I approached the director of the school (Steward Klonis) in private and told him to give me the money for a VTR and I would record his lectures for posterity. The tapes are a little shaky at first but later got better as I became more comfortable with the equipment. I thought it was important to at least have some record of this man’s talents.

  15. Tom Hall Avatar
    Tom Hall

    One more thing. I once asked Mr. Hale how he went about purchasing the collection of American Art for the Metropolitan Museum. I was curious because the collection covers such a wide range of styles and artists. He told me that he went to the studios of working artists at the time and asked if they wanted to be in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They each happily gave him a piece of work. He gathered all the paintings in a large room and leaned them against a wall. He then invited all the artists to pick the collection. He said the artists would walk around the room, while he took notes, and made comments about the selections. Hale claims the comments went a lot like this “that’s good”, “that’s ugly”, “that’s shit”.

  16. Tom,

    Thanks for your comments, the insight into the creation of the videos and the wonderful story about the selection of pieces for the Met! I haven’t had an opportunity to see your tapes yet, but I’m really glad to know that Hale’s amazing lectures have been in some way preserved.

  17. Tom Hall Avatar
    Tom Hall

    Hi Charley,

    That makes two of us. I’ve never seen the tapes either except to review them. I would take them to Hales apartment the day after I made one. His wife would make dinner and invite me over. I would bring a bottle of Jack Daniels and after dinner I would set up the open reel VTR and a monitor and we would sit there and watch them. He commented once how well the camera work became as the series progressed. This was a relief to hear since after the third lecture I started smoking pot before each taping.

    I noticed now the series is available on DVD for about $700. I don’t know who has the rights to them but they have to be making a big buck. It’s a shame since no art student I ever knew could afford that amount of money. I think the tapes were originally sold for about $300 in the Art Students League store. I had them transferred to video cassettes which were pretty expensive at the time.

    Hale was a great man and I’m glad I was able to preserve a small part of his life.

  18. Tom,
    Would you be interested in reworking the RBH videos? They are wonderful, but with modern editing techniques it would be possible to improve the sound and the visibility of his drawings on the board (of course, you would have to be the copyright holder of the tapes to do this). Perhaps the reworked series could be made available at a more obtainable price by artists. It would be a work of love, but worth it! If so, post an email address.

  19. Kathy Yepez Avatar
    Kathy Yepez

    I have been sharing the information about this lecture series and commenting that fortunately someone recorded these. I had no idea I could every personally thank that person. I have had some of Hale’s books for a long time, but didn’t know until last year that the videos were available. I used St. Louis County Public Library interlibrary loan a number of times to borrrow them. The tapes came from Community Colleges, I believe.

    I am so glad that I can thank you personally, Tom Hall. There is no other resource like this and the lectures are a gem and delightful. I was fortunate to be able to study anatomy at Syracuse University decades ago. They had an agreement with a medical center nearby to draw cadavres. It was awesome, in the full sense of the word and extremely instructive.

    When I was copying a portrait of a young man from the school of Rembrandt in the St. Louis Art Museum, I would often have art students stop by to see what I was doing. I would always be sure to share the information about Hale’s books and lectures.

    I have never seen Hale’s work, and was curious about it. I had no idea that he was an abstract painter. He doesn’t refer to his own work in the lectures much at all. I only remember him making a comment, half in jest perhaps, about painting white horses, that they were the only paintings that sold….

    Kathy Yepez

  20. Sherry Deems Avatar
    Sherry Deems

    I show Hale’s videos to my students. This is such a treat to read the comments from people who actually got to hear him speak. Thanks for the insight.

  21. I paint, and have now gone back to life studies (my website is I have bought all of Robert Hale’s books I could find, but Unfortunately I find the tapes way too expensive, and there are no libraries in Italy, where I now live, that have them as far as I know, which is a shame since I would love to deepen my knowledge of artistic anatomy. I have followed some dissections but it was not aimed at artists as Hale’s lectures are. Sigh!

  22. Michael Gurau Avatar
    Michael Gurau

    It was a pleasure to read about the Hale stories. I jut found about the videos, which led to me here. I wanted to mention that I stumbled across a website/company called Smartflix that rents instructional videos and has a great amount of art videos/Dvds. Very great and cheap way to learn from some of the greats. Glenn Vilppu is one person I was fortunate enough to study with when I lived in Los Angeles and they have a dozen of his lectures. He is the next closest thing to Hale. Who knows, if enough people ask them, maybe they will purchase the Hale videos to rent?

  23. Thanks, Michael.

    Unfortunately, I have to disrecommend SmartFlix. At first I thought it sounded like a great idea, and assumed from the steep rental price that they were making up for higher rental fees charged by the artists or producers.

    I’ve since found out from several sources that they use a legal loophole to rent their videos out without any recompense to the artists or producers, and against their wishes.

  24. When we bought the tapes for the school in 1998, the cost was around $1000 Canadian. I had studied with Hale at The Art Students League 1967/68. He as one of the great influences in my life. He was an unusually evolved, kind, and generous man, and he was able to simplify difficult concepts.

    Watching the tapes seems to bring him back to life.

  25. Norman Plume Avatar
    Norman Plume

    The DVDs are prohibitively expensive. I am checking out the tapes tomorrow. I will convert to digital and torrent.

  26. They deserve to be torrented! The price they put on these tapes is pure highway robbery- they just about ensure that nobody can access the information privately. Clearly they are counting only on the sales coming from institutions – that being so, it is very appropriate that individuals spread this information around for free – I looked for the Hale tapes everywhere and could not find them for years. It is a shame to have information like this bottled up into a few institutions while it could reach the whole world at rasonable prices. Anyone who breaks copyright on this is to be praised and not villified. It is the same as with scientific papers, all locked up inside portals that only wealthy institutions can access, even though the research has been payed by the state and the creators are actually not rewarded financially. And again it is the same with out-of-print books that you cannot find for years except at outrageous prices – the publisher does not care for the work and still it wants to keep you from copying it. If you are unwilling to provide your stuff to the market at reasonable prices then don’t complain afterwards – you see, information does want to be free.

  27. Jimmy Jabuticabra Avatar
    Jimmy Jabuticabra

    [Comment deleted to remove reference to illegal source for the videos. Please see my comment dated 6/27/2011 below. – Charley]

  28. jo-an we hate you Avatar
    jo-an we hate you

    [Comment edited to remove reference to illegal source for the videos. Please see my comment dated 6/27/2011 below. – Charley]

    This all sounds very weird to me. But no more weird than this woman selling 10 grainy videos for 800 USD!

    This obnoxious creep Jo-an, all she is doing is keeping this information from everyone. She won’t sell at market prices because she probably makes enough dough out of the libraries – who pay these prices with the usual government ability to waste taxpayers money.

    Out of the USA not even libraries pay this, so there is no way to see these lectures. It is abhorrent. Hale is gone, his work could be reaching the world, and yet it is held by a hoarding greedy creep who neither shot these videos not contributed in any way.

    I say put up the videos on some torrent site, in a few days they will be spread all over. To hell with her copyright, she won’t sell at maket prices, what is she protecting? The libraries will still buy, Jo-an dearest, and nobody else will anyway.

    Spread the videos, someone. If I had access to a copy I would be doing it right now. Just seed the whole series for a few days and it will be out in the wild before she even notices. Then you can quit seeding, if you are afraid of big bad Jo-an, and the net will take care of the rest. The mistake of the seeder was to do it one video at a time.

    1. I am permitting this thread to continue, for the moment reserving judgment about my position on the issue, but I ask you to be more restrained about name calling and flaming.

  29. Jo-an we were a bit too angry but still... Avatar
    Jo-an we were a bit too angry but still…

    Well, I wrote the previous comment, and I regreted the language as soon as I pressed send. My apologies for that to the owner of the blog. I stand for the rational part of the argument but the name calling was childish and a reminder that one shouldn’t write while angry.

    And I apologize for the language to the supposed copyright owner too, whoever she is, but again, just for the language. She is indeed performing very badly and using copyright law in a way that keeps information hoarded. It is both greedy and irrational, and this is not name calling, it is what it is. The pupose of copyright law is not this. It is supposed to protect authors and to further the creation and spread of information.

    I own all of Hale’s books and dozens other art books, and various DVDs bought online. Usually the DVDs are a bit too expensive, but still reasonably affordable. Most are found online for free, but one likes to think one is helping the authors help us, by giving them an incentive to make other works of the sort.

    But at these prices? For a work that, let’s face it, was done long ago by someone who isn’t even alive anymore? It may be legal (if copyright is indeed hers) but it is immoral and goes against even the spirit of copyright law. The only reason for such prices is that one has given up the retail market altogether and is betting just on a few sales to institutions (and then, why worry about a torrent?). That is the strategy of adobe at pricing photoshop for the price of a kidney. Adobe knows almost everybody pirates photoshop (or uses very old versions). It actually expects it and wants it to happen. That way it will keep the market addicted on its product (rather than finding alternatives) while at the same time collecting sales from the professionals and the studios, who can’t risk getting caught. That is why Adobe makes a nominal effort to protect photoshop but won’t actually chase down individual users too much – that would defeat the purpose.

    But this lady doesn’t even know her own game. Her money will come from libraries, meaning wasteful Uncle Sam and a few, very few, very well to do buyers. The rest of us will just have to do without it, no matter how much we’d love to buy it. Hale left the world a legacy and this person’s wallet takes it away. Some people create information, some people destroy it. I may have to accept it, legaly, but I don’t have to refrain (except in the matter of style) from saying it like it is.

    The funny thing is, you should have seen how fast it was going on demonoid while it lasted, and how disapointed people were when it vanished. You know what those disapointed voices were? Those were the voices of would-be buyers that would purchase those DVDs from amazon in a second if they were for sale at prices that were not a nasty joke.

    I am swimming in new books every month. Amazon loves me :D. But even if I could affoard 800 USD I would not give them to this person. She clearly has no respect for Hale’s work, otherwise she would want it to reach an audience. If she wants to prove me wrong, I’d thank her – just put the videos for sale on amazon at decent prices – let’s say 100 bucks, and I’ll be the first to line up.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful reply. As much as I feel copyright has a place, it is often abused (RIAA and big media companies for example), and I agree that the pricing here is outrageous and unreasonable. The missing information I don’t have in making a real judgment is whether the copyright holder (if indeed she is the lawful copyright holder) acquired the copyright under legitimate circumstances and whether any of the proceeds are going to Hale’s estate or family.

  30. Jo-an's number one fan Avatar
    Jo-an’s number one fan

    I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of it she didn’t even own it. Fear of breaking copyright is so high these days that there have been cases were people just claimed to hold copyright without it being true and managed to extract compliance – and even money! – from people who would rather pay a small penalty than call the bluff. It is a very broken legal system when just to find out if you are in trouble or not already calls for big expenses.

    I wish I knew a bit more about these procedures (I am too busy trying to learn real stuff rather than the deliberately obtuse conventions of lawyers). Is there some effective way of finding out who owns the copyright of these and similar works without the “my people will call your people” standard procedure?

    1. Some municipal and university libraries have access to copyright and trademark records. There may also be resources online through the copyright office web site.

  31. jo-an's pal again - she is bogus! Avatar
    jo-an’s pal again – she is bogus!

    Thanks for the tip. I smell bogus! There is no record of Jo-an productions owning the work at all. Here is what I found:

    Go to

    and search the catalog online. A search for “Hale, Robert Beverly” turns out four titles, all listed below (please check yourself, people).

    They are all texts. The one listed “ten lectures” is listed as a text, not video, and it is copyrighted to Hale himself, no “Jo-an pictures” around. The others are owned by Dover and Watson-Guptill.

    There is no record whatsoever of any “Jo-an pictures” there, or any copyright on the videos. Unless somebody can find it, or Jo-an can include an actual copyright number in her threats, it seems Hale’s videos may be actually free to share, or at least, not hers to claim.

    My guess is that she has no rights to the videos. She sells them at an amateurish looking webpage

    via a third rate site I never heard of. Don’t you find it suspicious? Perhaps she has to.

    My guess is she has been claiming copyright for this and nobody bothered to check it out. Again, Jo-an, please provide proof. It is easy if you have it.

    A detail: the online records go down to 1978. The videos were shot in 1976 BUT Jo-an’s tapes are at least from 1983, because that is when the Holden sequences were added at the student’s league. And in fact, Jo-an’s “production” (meaning, copying it and selling it for 800 USD) is only from 2003:

    Still, someone could search down to 1976 to be absolutely sure. I am not in the USA, the copyright site states “Works registered prior to 1978 may be found only in the Copyright Public Records Reading Room.” Still, I think it is clear that nothing before 1983 is relevant, as these videos have sequences shot in that year and not even Jo-an claims anything before 2003.

    I may be wrong, but it is at least worth checking out. Perhaps we can all watch Hale after all.

    Best regards,
    Jo-an’s number one pal

    Here are the records I meation above:

    [ 1 ] Hale, Robert Beverly Albinus on anatomy : with 80 original Albinus plates / by Robert Beverly Hale : and [introd.] Terence Coyle. TX0002603316 1988
    [ 2 ] Hale, Robert Beverly, 1901- Albinus on anatomy / [Bernard Siegfried Albinus] ; by Robert Beverly Hale and Terence Coyle. TX0000404620 1979
    [ 3 ] Hale, Robert Beverly, 1901- Master class in figure drawing / Robert Beverly Hale ; compiled and edited by Terence Coyle. TX0001678900 1985
    [ 4 ] Hale, Robert Beverly, 1901- Ten lectures on anatomy / by Robert Beverly Hale.

    [It has been established to my satisfaction that Jo-An Pictures is, in fact, the copyright holder for the videos. Please see my comment dated 6/27/2011 below. -Charley]

  32. Tom Hall Avatar

    I just saw this on YouTube. I hadn’t seen any part of the tapes since I made them. This was a treat. I really love Hale.
    At the end of the video it says “copyright RBH 1983” So maybe his family does see some money from the tapes after all.
    Someone mentioned white horses. Hale use to draw white horses with ink and a brush. They reminded me of Chinese Calligraphy. They were mostly about 8 inches by 6 inches and hung in plastic frames on the walls. They were beautiful. Nikki, his wife told me that people used to steal them. I asked why and she said it was because they never locked the doors to their apartment and people were in and out all the time.
    Nikki also told me that if was difficult getting Hale out of bed in the morning but that by the time he got to the League he would perk up. Well, the reason for this was easy to see. At school he was treated like a rock star. He always had two or three really cute girls following him around, helping him down stairs and catering to his every wish. He deserved it.
    Casper the Friendly Ghost distributes the videos.:)

  33. Tom Hall Avatar
    Sorry, forgot the YouTube link.

  34. I studied with Hale for 4 years when I went to the League on the GI bill in the 1970s He made a real difference in my life. I consider my self very lucky to have known him

  35. Neil Harlan Jr Avatar
    Neil Harlan Jr

    Well well, As a student of Mr. Hale seeing these films after a long time of saving up for them was a huge disappointment. The marketing tactics promoting this video is shameless! A bunch of vultures if you ask me.
    Due to unforeseen circumstances I was unable to complete his lecture program. It was for this reason I purchased what has turned out to being is a very sad document of a once great teacher in the throws of dementia.
    If I had been a member of the Hale family I would have fought to keep this from public view.
    This is nothing but a complete exploitation of a confused elderly man constantly forgetting where he’s going in these lectures. He continually makes mistakes that would never have occurred years earlier. These are detrimental to the process of learning especially amateurs.
    I was led to understand that this lecture series was for educational purposes and mostly sold to learning establishment and that’s why I fell for it and paid the stiff price.
    What a tidy little set up this seedy Joanne has got going.
    It is extremely frustrating trying to follow these lectures because the film maker wasn’t paying attention to the lecture. Many times the camera would move too late and miss the illustration and the points built upon them. You could tell from time to time that the camera was capable of full range movement enough to follow Mr Hale. So it cant be blamed upon the equipment. The camera man was obviously distracted thinking about all the stuff he could buy from the sale of this seedy enterprise.
    If you aren’t trained in artistic anatomy then you can’t catch the many misstatements made due to the waves of distraction his dementia caused.
    The static on the film is bad enough. The camera work horrid and seeing my star Mr Hale so far of his mark is very sad indeed.
    Sure there are moments when you’d like to put all these things aside and bathe in Mr Hales fleeting moments of clarity and wit but only for a moment I assure you.
    I paid 800 bucks for this extremely irritating video series. This is nothing more than shameless greed all to common in the world today. Artists and consumers should rent this first from a library and I’d be very surprised if anyone will feel the need to put out hard earned money for it. Mr Halls involvement in this production really shines a light on his true character and friendship to such a great man.
    No true friend would do this to another.
    Instead of gifting my video series to an Art School or library I’m going to destroy this bit of tarnish on the memory of such an icon.

    1. Wow. I’m sorry to hear that.

  36. Neil Harlan Jr Avatar
    Neil Harlan Jr

    I can see I made some typos. I should have proofed it with more care. I wish I had. I was caught up a bit in my emotions you see. Rent the damned thing first if you want to get an Idea of what this man must once have been. The breadth of his education and thesis is staggering. He was not just the best in New York or the world. He was once the best of his era. He was the culmination of the great masters all rolled into one intellect. Shakespeare once wrote something to the effect that the expression of complication made simple in an easily digested context is the zenith of sophistication. He was of that ilk. The people responsible for this outrage are nothing but trash!

  37. Tim Oconnor Avatar
    Tim Oconnor

    Well I would still like to se them. But since I neither live in the US, or have 800dollar plus overseas shipping to spend. Can someone who earlier said that they would torrent these lectures. Please up them on TpB or someother site, where they arent affraid of lawsuits from a questionable jo-an?


  38. [Comment Deleted] Avatar
    [Comment Deleted]

    [Comment deleted to remove reference to illegal source for the videos. Please see my comment dated 6/27/2011, below. -Charley]

  39. Christopher Neville Avatar
    Christopher Neville

    These videos are absolutely precious.
    Tom Hall, you don’t seem to realize what you have done for the future of the figurative arts.
    I had read each of his books five times through before I finally saw this video series.
    They literally made me cry.
    This man was one brilliant, beautiful human being.
    If you hadn’t done this, I never would have seen his twinkling eyes, never heard his voice! Now when I read his books, I can hear Bob speaking it to me! The force of his person behind the words!
    Sure, there are some repeats in the books, and in the videos themselves, but come on, he was just rapping it!!
    I hope those little ladies serviced him like he deserved.

    I have a digitized version of these tapes that I made for my own record, but they are from a vhs copy of a copy… I saw that whoever Jo-ann is is now offering a dvd version, which I assume were remastered from the originals. I would share my dvd’s, but I don’t want to spread the poor quality.

    and, Tom, if you read over this again, I am dying to know, did he ever take a toke with you?

    Thanks again and never enough!

    I play these tapes as background music man! I love them!

  40. Jo'an may bite us all Avatar
    Jo’an may bite us all

    [Comment edited to remove reference to illegal source for the videos. – Charley]

    Up until now it doesn’t even look like Jo’an has the copyright (she did not respond though she was asked about it a few times, and online records seem not to confirm her claims), so I guess it is fair game.

    [Comment edited. It has been established to my satisfaction that Jo-An Pictures is, in fact, the copyright holder. Please see my comment dated 6/27/2011, below. -Charley]

  41. I watched two years of Robert Beverly Hale’s anatomy lectures at the PAFA in the late 70’s. In my opinion there wasn’t and hasn’t been a more knowledgeable anatomy instructor in drawing. Hale made drawing anatomy instruction fun and comprehensible for the art student. His poem at the end of each session was a touch of class!
    Some of the other weekly lectures we would fall asleep through.
    Even with his having a cold in the beginning of the video lecture series and his aging when they where taken, they far surpass anything out there.
    Tom Hall deserves a medal of honor for having the insight and forethought to suggest the recording the sessions in the first place and to take his own time to film the 10 sessions. We should appreciate they even exist. I have worked for a good many artists and I wish I had filmed them, alas I did not.
    I agree the cost for the series is ridiculous, but there are always ways to get copies.

  42. Neil Harlan Jr Avatar
    Neil Harlan Jr

    Anyone who attended R. B. Hales classes as late as the early 70’s and paid attention would see the many confusing mistakes in these videos. Sure you’ll see a charming old man way past his prime trying to keep it together, but he cant. If you pay attention to these videos you will become confused trying to follow along. You’ll wonder “what the heck is this guy saying”? If your purpose isn’t education but to reminisce and you can lay out the doe, by all means buy them. If you are an advanced Art student then keep your money. There is much better video instruction made by superb teachers at the height of their game.

  43. Special comment from the author of Lines and Colors regarding this post’s comments:

    When I started this post, it was just a tribute to one of my respected and admired teachers from the Academy. I wasn’t expecting the controversy and strong words about the lecture videos, but I permitted it to continue, even though some of the comments were borderline.

    I need to point out at this juncture that it has been established to my satisfaction that Jo-An Pictures Ltd. is in fact the copyright holder for the videos titled World Famous Lectures on Artistic Anatomy and Figure Drawing, alternately Ten Lectures on Anatomy, The Hale Lectures, Anatomy Lectures by Robert Beverly Hale.

    This is according to a U.S. Copyright Office Certificate of Registration dated 4/24/2004, and it does refer to video (“Motion Picture Videotaped for television and educational institutions”).

    Whether anyone likes that fact or approves or disapproves of the company’s pricing policy is a moot point in reference to the ability of the copyright holder to determine how the videos are sold or distributed.

    As a result, and because of the nature of some of the comments, I have done something I almost never do, and edited some of the comments, specifically to remove reference to illegal sources for the videos.

    I’m trying to be fair minded here, both in acknowledging the rights of the copyright holder and preserving the opinions expressed by those frustrated with their policies.

    If anyone whose comment I have edited would prefer that it be removed altogether, please write me (see the contact page).

    I don’t know the circumstances under which the copyright was obtained, I only hope that Hale’s family or heirs received some compensation.

    My personal opinion is that it’s unfortunate that the videos are not available to a broader audience, and I think the copyright holder is being short-sighted in targeting only the library and institutional market. However, the best suggestion I can give for individuals who want to see them is to seek them out in university and institutional libraries.


  44. Kendall Thompson Avatar
    Kendall Thompson

    Wow, what a great post! I really love hales books and I wish I could have attended one of his lectures. I was wondering if anyone knew where I could find some of his art or in class drawings, so that I could see how he applied some of his methods. I also wanted to know if anyone knew if his masterclass in figure drawing book was going to be re-published anytime soon.

  45. Kathleen McSherry Avatar
    Kathleen McSherry

    I have this image. It is a signed litho by hale. 192/1000
    Does anyone know the value of this?

  46. John Connolly Avatar
    John Connolly

    Hi Charley,
    Looked at Lecture # 1 Pay Per View on JO-AN site…but that`s going to be it..too “Masterclass in Figure drawing”
    the best and close to the lectures?

    1. The books, which juxtapose his lecture comments against some of the master drawings he would refer to in the course of a lecture.

  47. Hi guys, does anyone have any lectures digitised. I have a friend with a couple lectures and looking for the rest. Drop me an email on

  48. Also looking for 2 Rar parts 7 and 12/13 have the rest

  49. Neil Harlan Avatar
    Neil Harlan

    When I attended Mr. Hales lectures they were marvelous. I later studied with Vincent Perez and he was quite good but not in the same league as Hale (No pun intended).

    Having these videos for some time and having the sting of the purchase price fading a bit I am glad to re visit them to show others moments of his lectures where he is relatively focussed. I dont show the many unfortunate parts though. Sadly these are the only recordings of this once great master. They are important that they exist at all.

    There are truly excellent videos on Artistic Anatomy by contemporary teachers. I strongly urge those who seek education to go to those. Hales videos are historical but have too many inaccuracies to reliable teaching tools.

  50. Tom Hall Avatar

    Sometimes Hale would say that a “flick of the wrist of a good instructor could explain some things far better than words in a book”. On the other hand, he was also fond of saying “it’s all in the books”. My favorite was “every subject eventually yields to study”.

    I’m sure there are competent artistic anatomy instructors out there these days but can they make an accurate drawing on a ten foot high black board with a piece of chalk at the end of a three foot stick?

    These videos were a lectures series given one night a week for 10 weeks. I don’t believe they were intended to leave you with all you would ever need to know on the subject of artistic anatomy.

    Again, the whole reason the videos were made was so that Robert Beverly Hale would have a face in the future and one could get some idea of how great he was. It was never intended by anyone, at the time the videos were made, that they would turn into a teaching tool. It was only afterward that someone saw a way to cash in. I also hope it is Hale’s family who is reaping the rewards.

    I never took a dime for my time. And, as anyone can clearly see, I also didn’t know much about making a video. That was my first and last camera job. The video camera and recorder(a Sony reel-to-reel black and white VTR) were bought for the sole purpose of the video and are probably still sitting somewhere, collecting dust, in the basement of the Art Students League.

    Hale was a rock star. Everyone loved him. I always admired the fact there was always two or three young pretty girls at his side, keeping him steady, as he walked about the school.

    1. Thanks, Tom.

      As much as I wish the video record of Hale speaking was more readily available, in light of the prices being charged for access to the videos, I have to recommend that those interested in Hale’s teaching start with the books in which notes from his lectures are matched with old master images.

  51. Tom Hall Avatar

    Hi Charley,

    Sorry about the ‘rock star comment’. I’m getting old and starting to repeat myself.

    Maybe someday Terry Coyle and wife Jo-An will change their minds and put the videos up on YouTube.

    1. I don’t think we have a specific accolade for brilliant Lecturers in Anatomy, so Rock Star may have to do (grin).

      Having the videos available for everyone, or even for a reasonable cost, would be nice; but I’m not holding my breath.

  52. Elin Anderson Avatar
    Elin Anderson

    I’m a student right now and was surprised to find all ten VHS tapes at my college and I’ve been watching them every day. It’s true that Hale is old in them but I find his transatlantic accent and little amusing anecdotes to be cute. A search in reveals that there are at least 160 libraries across the country that own these VHS tapes and if you are a student you may be able to get them for free through interlibrary loan. If there isn’t a library near you that owns them, Here’s an idea: you could enroll in one class at your local community college and use interlibrary loan to have them sent to you.

  53. It looks like no one is reading this thread anymore, but I had to put in my two cents. I don’t agree at all that Robert Hale was old and senile when the videos were made. I have made audio files of all ten lectures and listen to them over and over in my car. Hale makes his points very well. To me the real thrust of the lectures is not the anatomy at all, but his analysis of the classic approach to drawing the figure. Yes, he does go through a description of the artistic anatomy of the figure, which is very useful, but while he’s doing that, he’s repeating again and again how to approach drawing the figure, which after it finally sank in, I found even more important. I agree the tapes are overpriced, especially given the poor quality. It’s hard to understand why this is so if Jo-Ann is really the wife of Terence Coyle, who did so much to make the Hale books available. It’s really too bad that with the video techniques available today, someone doesn’t enhance the lectures and put them on reasonably-priced DVDs.

  54. Does anyone know how Terence Coyle came to own these tapes if they were made by Tom Hall?

  55. veronica walsh don Avatar
    veronica walsh don

    I too studied anatomy under Robert Beverly Hale at the Art Students League. When I began my undergraduate studies at Fordham, Lincoln Center, the art department was not yet completed. So, we were redirected to the League Building for two semesters.
    Having a love for Rodin and a similar love for Michelangelo, studying with Mr. Hale was a gift I have always treasured.