Archival Collections
Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Robert Lavigne papers, 1954-1969 

LaVigne, Robert, 1928-2014
Phys. Desc: 
3 linear feet (3 linear feet 2 document boxes 1 map case drawer)
Call Number: 
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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Biographical Note

Robert LaVigne is a painter, illustrator, and theatrical set designer associated with the Beat Generation and poets of the San Francisco Renaissance. LaVigne was born in St. Maries Idaho in 1928, but moved to San Francisco in 1951. There he became associated with a number of poets and counter-culture figures centered around the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, including Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, and Peter Orlovsky. LaVigne met Orlovsky in a coffee shop in San Francisco and almost immediately took the younger man as his muse, bringing him to live with him as a model and lover. It was at LaVigne's studio that Allen Ginsberg first met and subsequently fell in love with Peter Orlovksy-- first his image in a large, nude portrait that LaVigne had painted, and then with the young man himself. In San Francisco LaVigne worked as a painter, illustrator and a set designer for the San Francisco Actors Workshop. He also worked as the Art Director of the Auerhahn Press-- a small fine press that focused on the work of the San Francisco Renaissance poets. Like many members of the Beat Generation, LaVigne moved between coasts, leaving San Francisco for New York in the 1960s. While working in New York he was a pioneer of the painting style known as psychedelic painting, and continued to work in the theater, earning an Obie award for Best Design for his work on A Midsummer Nights Dream and Endicott and the Red Cross. LaVigne eventually returned to the west coast, moving to Seattle in the early 1980s.

Scope and Contents

The papers of artist and Beat Generation figure Robert LaVigne. The collection contains correspondence, artwork, and event invitations. The Robert LaVigne Papers include correspondence, artwork, manuscripts, and event announcements related to the work of Robert LaVigne and his group of friends.