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"Sam Havadtoy: Beauty is Mystery", New Exhibition Opens at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Sam Havadtoy, from the series "A.v.J.," 2009-2010, acrylic and lace on wood panel.

TEL AVIV.- Sam Havadtoy was born in London in 1952 and raised in Hungary. After travels in Europe he arrived in New York in 1972, where he worked as an interior designer; among others, he designed homes for John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It was the beginning of a relationship that lasted over 20 years, first as the couple's friend and later, from 1981, after Lennon's murder, as Yoko Ono's companion. In recent years, Havadtoy has been living and working in Italy.

Working as an interior designer in New York, in 1975 Havadtoy also turned to painting. He spent time with the protagonists of the American art world, among them Jasper Johns, Agnes Martin, Yoko Ono, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, as well as the composer John Cage, the choreographer Merce Cunningham, emerging talents like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and other, and equally gifted emerging artists.

The artist who fascinated him most, personally as well as professionally, was Warhol. Other painters whom Havadtoy admired and who influenced him greatly are Giorgio Morandi and Alexej von Jawlensky; Havadtoy dedicated the series of paintings presented here to the latter's works.

Havadtoy shares the forma mentis of the painters he admires, and believes that conciseness pays, as is the case in literature—a single line of a poem can, at times, say more than a whole chapter of a novel and an aphorism can express greater wisdom than an entire treatise.

The first stage of Havadtoy's work consists of writing an autobiographical text that he abridges and condenses to short stories, which he further concentrates into compressed, condensed texts. He then copies these texts onto the canvas, using a fine brush and liquid paint, and covers it all with a layer of paint. For the final stage, he glues pieces of lace, acquired in flea markets, also painted over. In this complex process, each work is a new story.

Havadtoy follows a pointillist tradition, covering the canvas with dots and tiny, isolated patches of color. In order to create the variety of delicate colors characteristic of his palette, Havadtoy mixes various hues of acrylic paint, used mainly for commercial silk-screening, that is manufactured especially for him.

Havadtoy painted the first portraits inspired by Alexej von Jawlensky in his country home in Hungary, in October 2008. At first he strove to be as faithful as possible to Jawlensky's portraits; over time, however, moving away from the original, he painted more freely and enriched his range of colors; thus, in some of the paintings the outlines are clear, whereas in others the multiplicity of dots obliterates the forms, making them almost disappear.

Havadtoy's creative process, combining painting, erasing and concealing the image, leads his work towards a minimalist and almost abstract expression that seeks to achieve a sublime, spiritual experience through its intensity.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art | "Sam Havadtoy: Beauty is Mystery" | John Lennon | Yoko Ono |

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