Bruce Hafley brought people to life when he painted portraits by capturing features that reflected his subject's substance and style.
For a painting of the late Dr. Henry King Stanford, interim president for the University of Georgia in 1986-87, he included the educator's signature boutonniere and cuff links, said Tom Landrum, UGA senior vice president for external affairs.
"He put things in the portrait that captured the person," Landrum said. "He explained to me that stylistic representations like that tell the person's story and he was excellent at doing that."
His oil painting of former Gov. Lester Maddox that hangs in the rotunda of the Georgia Capitol shows a mullet wrapped in a newspaper; when the segregationist's portrait was unveiled in 1986, the artist called the fish and newspaper "a reminder of [the governor's] wit involving his opinion of the press." The state seal in the portrait has a man riding a bicycle backwards, something the late Mr. Maddox was known for.
Bruce Winston Hafley, an Atlanta native, died June 28 at Emory University Hospital of complications from various illnesses. He was 90. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Cathedral of Christ the King. H.M. Patterson & Son, Spring Hill Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.
According to Southern Artistry, an online registry, Mr. Hafley studied architecture at Georgia Tech and served with the U.S. Army's Engineer Corps in Africa and Italy during World War II. While serving, he painted murals for the Red Cross in Naples and the Our Lady of Pompeii Orphanage near Naples.
In 1958, he studied three years at the Royal Academy of the Art in the Hague, the Netherlands, supplementing his work with study and practice in the museums of Rome, Florence, Paris and London.
A Boys High School alumnus, he returned to Atlanta after eight years of study in Holland and Europe. His wife, Charlotte Hafley, and daughter, Rose Hafley, became painters, too.
This patriarch's work has been displayed in local galleries and other venues. He often asked late Atlanta artist Kay O'Shea to critique his visuals. Besides politicians and college officials, he created corporate portraits, among them the late Philip J. Alston and Francis Marion "Buster" Bird of the Atlanta law firm Alston & Bird.
In 1967, the artist's symbolic studies of Christ were part of his exhibit at Atlanta's Galerie Illien. In one scene, he put a telephone on Jesus' chest.
"I imagine Jesus had to do an awful lot of talking from dawn to dusk," he told the Georgia Bulletin at the time. "That's why I put the telephone right on his chest -- like modern man."
Additional survivors include a nephew and his wife's family in England and France.
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