Richie Havens' art portfolio from the 1960s

[Art Archive].

[New York]: c. 1960s.

Price: $30,000.00

About the item

98 individual works, 2 sketchbooks. Various sizes. Richie Havens' art portfolio from the 1960s. Works on paper stored in a portfolio, some with minor damage but overall very good.

Item #345390

Richie Havens (1941–2013) was an American musician made famous by his opening set at Woodstock in 1969. Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Havens became a regular fixture in the Greenwich Village scene of the 1950s and '60s. Primarily a poet and artist before he began to play music, he signed a music deal with Bob Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman, that led to a meteoric rise to fame cemented by his spot at Woodstock. Opportunities for his music came regularly and commercial success ultimately led to his working on commercials; most notably for Folger's Coffee, Bud Light, and from performing "The Fabric of Our Lives" theme used in cotton commercials of the early 1990s. He was a champion of humanitarian causes and was featured performer for The Longest Walk, an American Indian spiritual walk from Alcatraz to Washington, D.C. affirming treaty rights, as a result of legislation that had been introduced to abrogate Indian treaties.

Though primarily known as a musician, Havens never stopped making visual art, often drawing imagined scenes and incorporating religious imagery, extraterrestrials, and distant cityscapes. This archive of work collects Havens' personal portfolio of sketches and completed drawings during the course of the sixties. Included are complete illustrations, experiments with composition and materials, and sketches of friends and celebrities such as members of The Beatles and JFK. The archive is suffused with Christian spirituality, and many pages feature the recurring theme of Jesus on the cross, but there's also an appeal to Eastern spirituality in images of Buddha, as well as many works existentialist themes: figures departing far off cities set back against hard lined horizons. Very much a product of his time, the collection gives insight into Havens growth from a traditional religious upbringing into a mature spirituality and finally coming into his own as a singer songwriter at the heart of the 1960s Greenwich Village music world. Many of the pieces are signed and dated from 1963-64.

This archive was gifted to Margaret Summers, Havens' former girlfriend, and she in turn gave it to Michael Mantagas. Included is a manuscript letter from Margaret Summers as well as a notarized letter signed by both parties regarding the provenance.

Framed works included:

"Figures on mushroom landscape with city skyline horizon." Color pencil on paper, ca. 1960s. [17" x 14" matted; 21" x 17" frame]

"Man walking on dollar bill with cityscape." Ink on paper, 1963. [17" x 14" matted; 21" x 17" frame]

"Woman standing on triangle with levitating objects." Marker on paper, 1966. [17" x 14" matted; 21" x 17" frame]

My Friend, Alice's Friends. Ink on paper, ca. 1960s. [17" x 14" matted; 21" x 17" frame]

"Ringo Starr." Charcoal on paper, ca. 1960s. [16.5" x 13.5" matted; 21.5" x 18.5" frame]

"John Lennon." Charcoal on paper, ca. 1960s. [16.5" x 13.5" matted; 21.5" x 18.5" frame]

"Figure wearing cape with basket tree and cityscape." Color pencil and ink on paper, 9/1963. [16.5" x 14.5" matted; 22.5" x 20" frame]

"Christ walking on Earth, pointing to "God." Watercolor and ink on paper, 1963. [17" x 14" matted; 23" x 20" frame]

The Great Ray Charles. Watercolor on paper, 1963. [16.5" x 13.5" matted; 22.5" x 18.5" frame]

"Black and white arrow cross." Watercolor and marker on paper, 1974. [16.5 x 21" matted; 23" x 27" frame]

Unframed works:

88 loose drawings, most color pencil and ink on paper (two are a block print version of one of the larger drawings included)

Two spiral-bound sketch books (likely from childhood)

Havens' set of Prismacolor Colored Pencils with an etching pen.