Marzette Watts

Artwork of 1960s Black Artist-Activist Marzette Watts To Be Auctioned October 9 In Beacon, NY

After an organized sit-in at the lunch counter at the Montgomery County Courthouse in 1960, Marzette Watts and eight others were expelled from Alabama State College. Enduring intimidation from the police and the Klu Klux Klan, Watts, a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, left Alabama and enrolled at NYU in New York City. Having been an art major in college in Alabama, he continued his studies in the department where famed Amistad muralist Hale Woodruff was teaching. He later spent a year at the Sorbonne.

Settling into 27 Cooper Square in Manhattan, Watts became part of a vibrant community that included LeRoi Jones, Allen Ginsberg, Larry Rivers, and fellow free jazz musician Archie Schepp. The activism of the free jazz movement shifted Watts’ genius from painting to music. He became a close friend of Lawrence Weiner, with whom he worked on soundtracks. Later, he formed his own recording companies and eventually taught at Wesleyan.


Hudson Valley Auctioneers will offer 150 Watts lots, including oils, ink on paper, and watercolors. There will also be photographs and a rare Delancey Street Museum flyer featuring a Bob Thompson exhibit. This will be an in-person as well as live auctioneers event.

A bound color catalog featuring an in-depth biography of Marzette Watts and images of all 150 lots is now available. Please forward a check in the amount of $40 ($35 + $5 shipping) to the order of Hudson Valley Auctioneers at the address shown below. To pay with a credit card, please call Neil Vaughn at 914-489-2399 or email

PREVIEW: Sunday, October 8, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

PREVIEW: Monday, October 9, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

AUCTION: Monday, October 9, 7 p.m.

Auctioneer: Neil Vaughn, 914-489-2399

Hudson Valley Auctioneers

432 Main Street

Beacon, NY 12508

Main Office: 845-831-6800

Office Manager: Theo de Haas, 845-480-2381


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