American artist and sculptor James Havard, who passed away at age 83 in December of 2020, left a legacy of primal color, primeval abstraction and, against all odds and obstacles, artistic passion in the face of illness. Havard, best known for his trailblazing work in the Abstract Illusionist movement, continued to paint and make art despite three previous brushes with death. Following two major operations with complications in the 1990s and a brain hemorrhage that left him unable to walk in 2006, the Texas-born artist decided to devote his entire working day to his studio. “I felt more like working,” the artist said at 79. “It gave me more energy. I forgot a lot of the other stuff—the other things in life—and I had only my work.”
James Havard is remembered for more than 50 years of artmaking, his love of paint and his dedication to craft which led to dozens of major solo shows across the globe. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, Sweden, among others.