Sam Havadtoy

Sam Havadtoy

Sam Havadtoy Biography

Havadtoy is an English born artist of Hungarian origin who lived and worked in the vibrant New York art scene of the 70’s and 80’s. For twenty years Havadtoy shared his newly American life with the quintessential creators of pop art and music, such as Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Andy Warhol, David Bowie, and Keith Haring. 


This dual-identity determined his art. Of course, the wild, impertinent and playful American pop-art made a powerful impact on his style, but he was also deeply influenced by the frustration of the freedom-less East-European petit-bourgeois expectations on art.

To date the art-loving audiences in Central and East Europe have received Havadtoy’s art in the most sensitive manner, since his concept on art raises all those problems faced in the East-European cultural environment. Havadtoy’s art suggests an intriguing/challenging combination of the bold slap-in-the-face American pop art juxtaposed and intertwined with the inhibited, suppressed, secretive, and hypocritical East-European life: existence in pain and distress covered-up by neat embroidery.

Artist’s Brief Biography

Sam Havadtoy was born to a Hungarian family in London in 1952. The family returned to Hungary in 1956 but were not able to go back to England. In 1971 Sam immigrated to England illegally through Yugoslavia. One year later, in 1972, he moved and settled in the United States.

In 1978 he established, the Sam Havadtoy Gallery and Interior Design Studio, and became good friends with Yoko Ono, John Lennon, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, George Condo, Donald Baechler and many more artists.

The most monumental bronze sculpture of Keith Haring’s oeuvre, the Winged Altarpiece – were created with Havadtoy’s co-design and limited numbered manufacture. Years later, the Ludwig Museum in Budapest received this rare work as a gift to the permanent collection from Havadtoy.     

In 1992 he established a gallery in Budapest, ’Galéria 56’ and exhibited works of Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Agnes Martin, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ross Bleckner, Donald Sultan, Donald Baechler. Great Hungarian artist, László Moholy-Nagy was also represented in his gallery. 

In 2000 he returned to live in Europe and has homes in Budapest,  Szentendre in Hungary, and Liguria in Italy.

Recent solo exhibitions:

2014 Budapest, Kálmán Makláry Fine Arts

2013 Jeleniej Górze, Muzeum Karkonoskie

2013 Eger, Kepes Institute

2013 Northampton, Oresman Gallery

2012 Cluj Napoca, Museul De Arta

2012 Prague, Museum, exhibit

2012 Milano, Palazzo Pirelli

2011 Amsterdam, Town Hall, August

2011 Santa Margherita, Villa Durazzo, June

2011 Genova, Italy, Palazzo Bianco Museum and four other locations

2011 Santa Margherita, Italy

2010 B55 Gallery, Budapest

2010 Bratislava, The National Theatre of Slovacia

2010 Budapest, The National Theatre of Hungary

2010 Tel Aviv, Museum of Modern Art

2010 Rome, Ermanno Tadeschi Gallery

2009 Milan, Ermanno Tadeschi Gallery – Fundazione Mundima

2008 Milan, Fondazione MUDIMA

2007 Moscow, Central for Hungarian Culture

2006 Bucharest, Romanian National Gallery

His works are regularly exhibited in Budapest:

MeMoArt Gallery

ERDÉSZ and Makláry Gallery

B55 Gallery

Havadtoy’s works in significant museums:

Ludwig Museum – Contemporary Museum of Arts Budapest

Hungarian National Gallery

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Kepes Institute