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John Charles Haley was born September 21, 1905 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received most of his formal art training in the nineteenth century academic neoclassical tradition at the Minneapolis School of Art. In 1927 Haley traveled to Paris where he began his study under well-known artist Hans Hoffman. It was through Hoffman that Haley absorbed the cubist format tradition. On Haley's return to the U.S. he married Monica Phares and for a short while taught at Minneapolis School of Art. However, when a teaching position at the University of California, Berkeley, opened up the Haley's moved to the far more prestigious institution. Haley, within the Art Department and Bay Area community, brought his interest in modern art to both the department and region at a time when a great deal of art exploration was underway. In 1943 Haley was drafted into the United States Naval Reserve and returned to Berkeley in 1945. Upon his return he began exploring, the then exploding, "abstract" art world. With most summers off Haley and his wife began tours of the American Southwest and began to insert motifs and ideas seen while on these travels. Haley taught at Berkeley for 42 years and quietly changed the art world.