James Havard was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1937. When he graduated
from Houston State College in 1959 he moved east to attend the Pennsylvania
Academy of the Fine Arts.


After moving to New York in the 1980s, Havard focused on large-scale, expressive paintings referencing Native American culture in his own way. He moved to Santa Fe in 1989 and found an abundant source of inspiration throughout the years. Havard's way of mixing expressionistic abstraction with indigenous symbols caught the attention of museums throughout the country.

Havard was regarded as the avante-garde of abstract illusionism. His distinctive paintings include images and text that refer to prehistoric Native American culture using collage elements, squeezings of paint that originated from the tube, and spray painted “shadows” that create a deception that the paint is suspended in front of the paint surface.


His work finds familiar territory with Abtract Expressionists in light of his expressive sweeping and gestural brushes of paint. Havard was an intelligent colorist who aptly draws powerful emotional responses from the observer.




Selected Collections:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York City, NY