Author(s): Gavin Fry
'Gerard Havekes was outrageously big in every way – he was a mighty, creative force. A big, tall man, who commanded attention by his very presence, a man who embraced life with gusto. Wherever he went he would inevitably, naturally dominate the space, ruling over his domain at home or in his work space with authority, charming his clients or entertaining gatherings of friends, students, artists, architects, writers, academics. He was like a magnet, a true artist with a European heart, an impressive knowledgeable speaker, a mighty creative force. Arrogant, intelligent, opinionated, and always interesting, one certainly couldn't ignore his presence. His deep voice, with its heavy Dutch overtones would resonate, dominating the conversation, as he freely expressed his views on the unimpressive state of the arts in Australia, while delighting us with his extensive knowledge of the arts and literature world-wide, his political and historical awareness, and fascinated us with stories of his extraordinary war experience in Indonesia and Holland.' This is how Babette Hayes describes Gerard Havekes whom she met in 1968 and became a great friend. Havekes had already established himself in the Australian art world with some remarkable constructions. He arrived in Australia in 1950 from Indonesia and by 1953 he was exhibiting in the Blake and Archibald Prizes. He acquired many loyal friends from all parts of the world, including John Olsen who has written the foreword to this book. Gavin Fry's text places Havekes in exciting times, both for Australian art and the broader nation, in the boom years after World War Two. The evolution of this multi-talented artist, who was accorded a Retrospective in 1981 at the prestigious Philips Centre in Eindhoven, highlights the diversity and cultural richness that European migration brought to Australia. The book covers the many phases in Havekes' work, finishing with the masterly fountain he made in 1999 for a private house, his last and probably greatest work.
Gavin Fry is a well known art historian and gallery director, who is currently director of the Newcastle Art Gallery and an author of several books on other Australian artists, including Sidney Nolan, Donald Friend, Albert Tucker and Margaret Woodward.