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James Dexter Havens
James Dexter Havens, A.N.A., S.A.G.A., A.W.S. (American, 1900-1960) noted artist, printer, wood engraver, etcher, block-printer, illustrator, painter, graphic designer and sculptor known especially for his for his atmospheric woodblock prints in the tradition of Margaret Jordan Patterson (Indonesian-American, 1867-1950) and Eliza Draper Gardiner (American, 1871-1955) and for his landscape paintings. He was considered part of the color woodblock revival in America. His prints and paintings often featured animals, nature scenes, people, landscape, cityscape, seascape or maritime scenes characterized by minute details and careful design. Havens was a member of numerous art societies, print-making organizations, and clubs and was an elected Associate Member at the National Academy of Design (A.N.A.), the Society of American Graphic Artists (S.A.G.A.) and the American Watercolor Society (A.W.S.). He was one of the twenty-two founding members of the Print Club of Rochester, NY, initially serving as treasurer and served for many years as director. The logo that he designed for the Club is still in use today. His works are in many public & private collections and museums nationwide to include; The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, The Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY, Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, CA, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA to name a few.

From 1918-1926, Havens studied special art courses at the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (known today as the Rochester Institute of Technology, RIT), in Henrietta, NY under Alling MacKaye Clements (American, 1891-1957), and at the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY (1918-21 non-graduate due to diabetic illness). He also took summer classes for about eight years at the Charles H. Woodbury (American, 1864-1940) Summer School in Ogunquit, ME (circa 1935-1942), and studied privately with Thomas Fogerty (American, 1873-1938) for etching, Troy Sylvanus Kinney (American, 1871-1938), John Edward Costigan (American, 1888-1972), and Grant Tyson Reynard (American, 1887-1968).

From the early age of fourteen, Havens was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and doctors only gave him about two years to live. Bedridden for most of the time, he began drawing as a way to pass the time and combat the boredom. Though ill, he still was able to complete high school and three years at the University of Rochester. Havens was a life-long sufferer of disease, but he earned a footnote in history when in 1922, on the verge of death, he became the first person to be successfully treated with insulin injections in the United States. His father, head of the legal department at Eastman Kodak, learned of research being carried out in Canada and obtained a supply of insulin even before it was available in the US. Insulin therapy dramatically improved the quality of his life and he finished studying art at Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute.

“In the early 1920s, Attorney James S. Havens—the artist’s father—who had already served as a U.S. Representative to Congress (1910-11) and was head of its legal department of the Eastman Kodak Co.—was searching for something to help his desperately ill son. Through his high offices at Kodak, he rubbed shoulders and played golf with a great many men in all sorts of fields. Among these men was Professor J.J.R. Macleod, who headed the lab at the University of Toronto where Frederick Banting and Charles Best were doing the first research on insulin in 1921-22. Through the intervention of Professor Macleod, young Jim Havens, became the first American to undergo insulin therapy. By the time he received treatment, he weighed less than 74 pounds at the age of twenty-two. Initially, the insulin—administered by Dr. John R. Williams of Rochester—was ineffective and it was only after Frederick Banting traveled to Rochester and injected the young man himself that the diabetes was finally brought under control. In fact, when Banting finished injecting Havens, the young man enjoyed the first full meal he’d had in many years.[1]

Self taught as a printmaker, Havens made his first prints, mainly in the form of bookplates and greeting cards, in the late 1920s. On July 18, 1927, he married Gladys (Corland) Havens and together, they had a son, James C., and a daughter, Bettina “Tina” Havens (Letcher), who eventually married a professor of physics at the University of Rhode Island. By the mid-1930s, Havens was a fairly accomplished printmaker, usually working in color, creating both linoleum cuts and woodcuts. During this period, he built a home/studio for himself and his family in Fairport, New York, five miles southeast of Rochester.”
[2] –Kevin Murphy

In addition to art, James also loved horticulture, gardening, and nature study. On November 30, 1960, James passed away at the age of sixty from colon cancer at his home in Fairport, NY and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery there.

Chronology:

1900- January 13th, born to congressman & lawyer James Smith Havens (1859-1927), and Caroline (née Sammons) Havens (1864-1956), Rochester, NY.

1914- Havens was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.

1922- Became the first person successfully treated with insulin injections in the United States.

1925- Traveled, painted & sketched throughout England, France and Switzerland.

1927- February 27, James’ father died and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY. July 18, James married Gladys (née Corland) Havens, they had a son, James C. and a daughter, Bettina “Tina” Havens (Letcher).

circa late 1920’s- Havens made his first prints, mainly in the form of bookplates and greeting cards.

circa mid 1930’s- Havens builds his home and studio in Fairport, NY.

1934- Co-founded the Print Club of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

1934-36- Exhibited, group show, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA.

1934-43- Exhibited, group show, Philadelphia Print Club, Philadelphia, PA.

circa 1935-1942, Took summer classes at the Charles H. Woodbury (American, 1864-1940) Summer School (“The Art of Seeing-Woodbury Course in Observation”), Ogunquit, ME.

1935-36- Exhibited, group show, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO.

1936- Exhibited, group show, Society of Independent Artists, NYC. Exhibited, group show, Print Club of Rochester (Ewald Eiserhardt Purchase award), Rochester, NY.

1937-38- Exhibited, group show, New York Water Color Club, NYC.

1938- Exhibited, group show, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA. Exhibited, group show, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO. Exhibited, group show, Society of Independent Artists, NYC. Exhibited, group show, American Watercolor Society, NYC.

1939- Exhibited, group show, Print Club of Rochester (Ewald Eiserhardt Purchase award), Rochester, NY. Exhibited, group show, University of Rochester (Fairchild Award), Rochester, NY.

1941- Exhibited, group show, American Watercolor Society, NYC. Exhibited, group show, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

1942- Exhibited, group show, National Academy of Design (now the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts), NYC.

1943-44- Exhibited, group show, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

1944- Exhibited, group show, National Academy of Design (now the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts), NYC.

1945- Exhibited, group show, Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) (prize), Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, group show, Audubon Artists, NYC.

1946- Exhibited, group show, Albright Art Gallery (Print Prize), Buffalo, NY.

1946-48- Exhibited, group show, Philadelphia Print Club, Philadelphia, PA.

1947- Exhibited, group show, Audubon Artists, NYC. Exhibited, group show, Society of American Graphic Artists, NYC. Exhibited, group show, Brooklyn Museum (Purchase Award), Brooklyn, NY.

1948- Commissioned to design color woodcuts for the annual membership prints of the Prairie Print Makers, Lindsborg, KS. Exhibited, group show, Audubon Artists, NYC.

1949- Exhibited, group show, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Commissioned to design the annual membership prints for The Woodcut Society of Kansas City, MO, and the Print Club of Rochester, of Rochester, NY. Exhibited, group show, Woodcut Society, Kansas City, MO. Exhibited, group show, Print Club of Rochester (Ewald Eiserhardt Purchase award), Rochester, NY. Exhibited, group show, Rochester Memorial Art Gallery (prize), Rochester, NY. Exhibited, group show, Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition (Print Prize & Gould Purchase Award for a watercolor), Rochester, NY.

1950- Exhibited, group show, American Color Print Society, Philadelphia, PA, and was also commissioned to design the annual membership prints for the American Color Print Society.

1950-52- Exhibited, group show, Audubon Artists, NYC. Exhibited, group show, Society of American Graphic Artists, NYC.

1951- Elected an Associate Member at the National Academy of Design (now the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts), NYC. Exhibited, group show, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Exhibited, group show, Print Club of Rochester (Ewald Eiserhardt Purchase award), Rochester, NY.

1952- Exhibited, group show (Prize, M. Grumbacher Award of Merit), Florida International Art Exhibit.

1952-55- Exhibited, group show, National Academy of Design (now the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts), NYC.

1953- Exhibited, group show, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Exhibited, group show, at the Audubon Artists, NYC. Exhibited, group show, New Britain Connecticut Art Museum, New Britain, CT.

1953-56- Exhibited, annual group shows, Academic Artists Association, Springfield, MA.

1955- Exhibited, group show, Audubon Artists, NYC. Exhibited, group show (American Artists Group Prize $100), Society of American Graphic Artists for “Bluejays” color woodcut, Kennedy’s, NYC.

1956- June 19, James’ mother died and is also buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY. Elected to the American Watercolor Society (AWS). Elected to the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA), NYC.

1958- Exhibited, group show, Pasadena Art Museum (Purchase Prize $25), for color woodcut print for their permanent collection, Pasadena, CA.

1959- Exhibited, group show, Print Club of Rochester (Ewald Eiserhardt Purchase award), Rochester, NY.

1960- Died, November 30th at his home at the age of sixty from colon cancer and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Fairport, NY.

circa early 1980’s- Haven’s daughter-in-law, Anne Havens, “estate-stamped” all of his completed works and sold them.

2000- Exhibited, solo retrospective show, “Woodblock Prints by James Havens: A Centennial Celebration”, December 8th through March 4, 2001 at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, about 40 woodblock prints from the collection of the Memorial Art Gallery, plus a number of works on loan from Rochester’s Strong Museum, Rochester, NY.

Exhibited Also: Print Club of Buffalo, NY; Prairie Print Makers, annual circulating shows, Lindsborg, KA; Northwest Printmakers; and the Meriden Connecticut Arts & Crafts Gallery, Meriden, CT.

Memberships: Associate Member of the National Academy of Design (now the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, 1951), NYC; Society of Independent Artists, NYC; Washington, DC Watercolor Club, Washington, DC; Society of Washington, DC Printmakers, Washington, DC (1954); Boston Printmakers, Boston, MA (1955); The Boston Society of Independent Artists, Boston, MA; The Boston Print Club, Boston, MA; Print Makers Society of California, Los Angeles, CA; Academic Artists Association, Springfield, MA; American Color Print Society, Philadelphia, PA; Prairie Print Makers, Lindsborg, KA; American Watercolor Society, NYC (1956); Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA), NYC (1956); The Washington Water Color Club, Washington, DC (1956); The Woodcut Society, Kansas City, MO; The Rochester Art Club, Rochester, NY; Founding Member of The Print Club of Rochester, Rochester, NY (Initially served as treasurer and also served for many years as director); The Genesee Group, Rochester, NY; The Albany Print Club, Albany, NY; The Color Block Printmakers; Southern Printmakers Society, Birmingham AL; and The American Artists Professional League, NYC; and the Psi Upsilon Fraternity, Rochester, NY.

Awards, Honors & Prizes: Ewald Eiserhardt Purchase awards, the Print Club of Rochester, Rochester, NY, (1936, 1939, 1949, 1951, 1959); University of Rochester Fairchild award of $100 for contributing to the community in the arts, Rochester, NY, (1939); The Print Prize, at the Buffalo Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox Art Gallery), Buffalo, NY, (1946); Purchase award, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, (1947); Print Prize & Gould purchase award for his watercolor, Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition, (1949) and three others between 1939-59, Rochester, NY; M. Grumbacher Award of Merit, Florida International Art Exhibit (1952); American Artists Group prize, Society of American Graphic Artists Exhibition, NYC, (1955); American Artists Group Prize of $100 for “Bluejays” color woodcut at Society of American Graphic Artists Exhibit, Kennedy’s, NYC, (1955); Awarded commissions by four Print Societies to execute their membership prints, Prairie Printmakers Lindsborg, KS (1948), The Print Club of Rochester, NY (1949), The Woodcut Society, Kansas City, MO (1949) and American Color Print Society, Philadelphia, PA (1950); and the Purchase Prize $25 for color woodcut print, for the permanent collection of the Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, CA.

Museum/Gallery Collections: Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; The Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY; Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester, NY; Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Rochester, NY; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, CT; The Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile AL; George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield, MA; Two prints purchased for the permanent collection of Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ (April, 1956); Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, CA; Museum of Art and Archaeology, Museum of Nebraska Art, Kearney, NE; Saint Joseph College Art Gallery, West Hartford, CT; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; and the Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, WI; and the Arnot Art Gallery (Herbert Arnot Inc.), NYC.

Other Public Collections: University of Missouri Columbia, Columbia, MO; William Smith College, Geneva, NY; Arlington Public Library, Arlington, MA; Rochester Institute of Technology, Henrietta, NY; The Print Club of Rochester, Rochester, NY; Print purchased for the permanent collection of The University of Maine, Orono, ME (May, 1956); and The New York Public Library, NYC.

Publications: Index of Artists: International-Biographical, Two Volumes: Includes 1940 Index, by Daniel Trowbridge Mallet, 1935/40; History of the National Academy of Design, 1825-1953, by Eliot Clark, 1954; 30 Years of American Printmaking, by Gene Baro, 1976; The Society of Independent Artists: Exhibition Record 1917-1944, by Clark S. Marlor, 1984; Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975 Artists Active Between 1898-1947, by Peter Hastings Falk (Editor), 1985; Annual Exhibition Record, 1914-68, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, by Peter Hastings Falk (Editor), 1989; A Spectrum of Innovation: Color in American Printmaking 1890-1960, by David Acton, 1990; Charles Woodbury and His Students, by Ogunquit Museum (Editor), 1998; Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975, 3 Volume Set, by Peter Hastings Falk (Editor), 1999; The Artists Bluebook: 34,000 North American Artists to March 2005, AskART.com Inc., Lonnie Pierson Dunbier (Editor), 2005; Davenport's Art Reference: The Gold Edition, by Ray Davenport, 2005; The American Artist, magazine and his works have been published in various other magazines and publications.

For additional information on this artist or for other possible examples of his works, please visit the AskArt link

(Rewritten & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, sources: Info and prior biographical submissions with permission from AskArt.com, prior submission from Wharton Fine Art, Inc., prior submission & paragraphed quotes [1] & [2] by Kevin Murphy submitted October 2005, prior submission by Traditional Fine Art Online, Inc.; Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975, 3 volume set, by Peter Hastings Falk (Editor-in-Chief), 1999; Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc. website; Miscellaneous biographical information, unknown source; www.tfaoi.com exhibition article “Woodblock Prints by James Havens: A Centennial Celebration”; Wikipedia, “James D. Havens”; Wikipedia.com, “James S. Havens”; findagrave.com, “Casroline Sammons Havens”, Memorial Number 8747154.)
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