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On the Artist Eberhard Havekost: 1998-2015 at Roberts Projects

By Gordy Grundy

The loss of any artist is a tragedy. For me, the poignancy is ever greater when the artist can tickle my fancy. German artist Eberhard Havekost had a sensibility for beauty in all things with a Ruscha-like wit. His work makes me smile. He passed away, suddenly and quietly, at the still young age of 51 in 2019.

Roberts Projects presents twelve paintings from 1998 to 2015. The expansive gallery gives each piece the space it deserves.

Beginning with his collection of photographs and video, Havekost used a computer to enhance, recolor, shift-shape and minimize the detail of his images, thereby altering the reality to his vision. There is no realism to his photorealism, yet you can see it. These modifications are printed for evaluation and then hand-painted onto canvas.

New York Times critic Roberta Smith wrote that "the blunt dispatch and immediacy of Mr. Havekost's surfaces, while suitably laconic, run counter to the randomness and remove of the images, providing a necessary disconcerting tension."

Los Angeles Times critic David Pagel, in 2005, called him "a promising painter so deeply indebted to (Gerhard) Richter's version of abbreviated Photorealism that it appears he has not yet come into his own.”

Havekost has shown internationally and prestigiously. His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Tate, the Rubell Family, MoMA, MOCA, Denver Art Museum and many, many more.

Havekost’s acorn did not fall far from the tree. His father was a taxidermist and a sculptor.

Born in Dresden, Havekost sang in his youth, studied at the prestigious Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste, escaped from East to West Germany, learned the trade of a stonemason, received an artist’s grant and became a professor. And he made art of planes, trains, cars, nature, our most beloved objects and anonymous people.

Artist Eberhard Havekost lived a very full life.