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Summer Deaths in the Arts

posted by Christopher Howard


In its semimonthly roundup of obituaries, CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, scholars, curators, collectors, museum directors, and other men and women whose work has had a significant impact on the visual arts. Of special note is Adrian Hicken’s text on the Hungarian-born British art historian George Thomas Noszlopy, written especially for CAA.

  • Tadek Beutlich, a teacher, printmaker, and textile artist whose experiments with three-dimensional weaving toured internationally in the 1960s, passed away on April 16, 2011, at 88. Beutlich authored The Technique of Woven Tapestry (1967) and pushed the boundaries of his medium further with “free-warp” tapestries, a technique that created wall hangings and freestanding pieces that resembled living organisms
  • Robert Breer, an artist and animator who cofounded the Film-makers’ Cooperative in New York and taught the medium at Cooper Union from 1971 to 2001, passed away on August 13, 2011, at age 84. A major figure in Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), Breer began animating his own abstract paintings, which he referred to as “Form Phases,” in the 1950s, successfully derailing narrative and assaulting the viewer with movement and speed through glitchy imagery
  • Charles E. Buckley, director of the Currier Museum of Art (1955–64) and the Saint Louis Art Museum (1964–75) who helped enlarge the collections of both institutions with American and European works, furniture, and wares, died on June 26, 2011, at age 86. He served as president of the American Association of Museums from 1972 to 1974, helping to establish the organization’s important accreditation system
  • Duncan Campbell, a London art dealer who championed modern British printmaking and promoted the White Stag group of the 1930s, died on February 14, 2011, at the age of 66
  • Edmund Carpenter, an archeologist and anthropologist who with Marshall McLuhan at the University of Toronto laid the foundation for modern media studies, died on July 1, 2011, at age 88. Carpenter’s work considered the effects of media on human interactions, supported by investigations of tribal peoples in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s and further research at the Museum of Ethnology in Basel in the 1980s. He also edited the journal Explorations and gathered the papers of the art historian Carl Schuster, published in twelve volumes
  • Irene Chou (born Zhou Luyun), a prominent artist of the New Ink Painting movement in Hong Kong who reinvigorated the Zen and Tao-derived “one stroke” technique in oil, acrylic, and watercolor, died on July 1, 2011, at the age of 87. She was a founding member of two collectives, the In Tao Art Association (Yuan Dao huahui) and the One Art Group (Yi huahui), which sought new ways to combine Eastern and Western techniques while maintaining the principles of traditional Chinese art
  • Roger Davies, the chief book designer for the British Museum from the 1970s through the 1990s whose work won numerous awards, has passed away at the age of 72
  • Biren De, an internationally exhibited Indian artist who depicted universal energies through geometry, light, and traditional Hindu or Buddhist symbols, died on March 12, 2011. He was 85 years old
  • Fred Dubery, a figurative painter known for his quietly colorful and off-kilter oils and a longtime professor at the Royal Academy Schools, passed away on April 8, 2011, at the age of 84. He was also a lifetime member of the New English Art Club
  • T. Lux Feininger, a painter and photographer who documented the daily lives of the German avant-garde and the Bauhaus in particular, died on July 7, 2011, at the age of 101. After emigrating to the United States in 1936, he taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Virginia Fields, a distinguished scholar, educator, and the first curator of Precolumbian art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, died on June 15, 2011, at the age of 58. In her twenty two years at the museum, Fields helped acquire more than three thousand ancient objects for the  collection, organized blockbuster shows on Mayan and Olmec art, and allocated new resources for the study of ancient American art
  • Gunnar Fischer, Ingmar Bergman’s cinematographer who shot twelve of the director’s films between 1948 and 1960, including The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), and The Devil’s Eye (1960), passed away on June 11, 2011. He was 90 years old
  • Trevor Frankland, a British painter of abstract scenes who served as president of the Royal Watercolor Society from 2003 to 2006, died on April 17, 2011, at the age of 79
  • Lucian Freud, a major twentieth-century artist whose dedication to painting the human figure kept stark realism alive throughout an era of modernist abstraction, died on July 20, 2011. He was 88 years old. He was also the grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud
  • Ussman Ghauri, a celebrated Pakastani printmaker known for his investigations of alphabets, symbolic narratives, and societal distress, died on April 9, 2011, at the age of 41. Ghauri was also an associate professor at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and served as a curator for the IVS Gallery and the Koel Gallery
  • Selwyn Goldsmith, an advocate for the functional evolution of architecture in England and the author of Universal Design (2000) and Designing for the Disabled (1963), a pioneering guidebook that suggested adjustments for facilities and buildings to better accommodate handicapped people, died on April 3, 2011. He was 78
  • Dov Gottesman, the president of the Israel Museum, a collector of art, and the recipient of the 2005 King Solomon Award for art patronage, died on February 22, 2011, at age 82. Gottesman founded the Artist’s Portfolio Project, a program and workshop that published twenty series of prints by Israeli artists and that turned into the Gottesman Etching Center
  • Fred Griffin, an artist based in the Pacific Northwest who taught graphic design at the Art Institute of Seattle and the Burnley School of Professional Art, passed away on April 23, 2011. He was 79 years old
  • Nancy Hamon, a passionate philanthropist and cultural advocate in Dallas who served on the board of trustees at the Dallas Museum of Art, passed away on July 31, 2011, at age 92. Hamon helped fund the acquisition of the Nora and John Wise Collection of ancient American artworks and objects, the construction of new exhibition spaces and a library at the museum, and the Jake and Nancy Hamon Art Library at Southern Methodist University
  • Melissa Hines, the director of cultural partnerships at the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs since 2004 and a member of the King County Arts Commission (now called 4Culture) from 1996 to 2001, died on April 8, 2011. She was 63 years old
  • John Hoyland, an English painter and printmaker who created emotionally charged abstract imagery that favored size, pigment, and form over visual references, passed away on July 21, 2011. He was 76 years old
  • Freda Koblick, a prominent San Franciscan sculptor who in the 1960s produced abstract work in cast acrylic, passed away June 18, 2011, at the age of 90. Before using the new medium, she designed functional objects in plastic, often collaborating with architects
  • Owen Land, an American teacher and filmmaker associated with the Fluxus movement who was keen on disregarding narrative in exchange for a more essentially visual experience of film, died on June 8, 2011, at the age of 67. Born George Landow, he was the founder of the Experimental Theatre Workshop in the Performance Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Lawrence Lee, a master glass artisan responsible for creating large public stained-glass compositions throughout Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, died on April 25, 2011, at age 101. He was the author of several books, among them Stained Glass (1967), Stained Glass, an Illustrated Guide (1976), and The Appreciation of Stained Glass (1977)
  • Jerome Liebling, a member of the Photo League, a collective of photojournalists documenting the social climate in New York, in the 1930s and 1940s and the founder of photography and film programs at the University of Minnesota and Hampshire College, died on July 27, 2011. He was 87
  • Gilbert Luján aka Magú, a teacher, painter, sculptor, muralist, and pioneer of the Chicano art movement in California since the 1960s, died on July 24, 2011, at the age of 70. Magu was a founding member of the art collective Los Four, responsible for enhancing the political and aesthetic aims of Chicano art
  • Norma “Duffy” Lyon, the official Iowa State Fair butter cow sculptor from 1960 to 2006, died on June 26, 2011, at the age of 81. Lyon also created likenesses of celebrities and presidents, and even produced a life-size reproduction of Leonardo’s The Last Supper from two thousand pounds of butter
  • Ján Mančuška, an experimental writer, painter, and video artist who challenged traditional presentations of art within architectural environments and was notorious for his conceptually playful installations, died on July 1, 2011. He was 39 years old
  • Rachel Maxwell-Hyslop, a teacher, archaeologist, and president of the British School of Archaeology in the 1990s, died on May 9, 2011, at age 97. A scholar of jewelry, Maxwell-Hyslop wrote extensively on Bronze Age weapons and tools from West Asia
  • Eddy G. Nicholson, an industrialist who was an avid collector of early American art and furniture, passed away on June 16, 2011, at the age of 73
  • Christiane Desroches Noblecourt, a French Egyptologist who rescued antiquities from southern Nubia in the 1960s and mounted the groundbreaking King Tut exhibition at the Musée du Louvre in 1967, died on June 23, 2011. She was 97 years old
  • George Thomas Noszlopy, a Hungarian-born scholar and longtime professor at Birmingham Polytechnic in England who produced novel explorations on early-twentieth-century art, Renaissance art, and British art and crafts, passed away on June 5, 2011, at age 78. Adrian Hicken has written a special text on him for CAA
  • Breon O’Casey, a modernist jeweler, weaver, printmaker, painter, and sculptor who was a member of the St. Ives School in England, which included Barbara Hepworth, died on May 22, 2011. He was 83
  • Roman Opalka, a Polish painter recognized for his series Opalka 1965/1 — ∞, which numerically annotated his days starting in 1965 with the number one, passed away on August 6, 2011. He was 79 years old
  • Ruth Perelman, a cultural patron in Philadelphia who contributed to the expansion of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and funded the Perelman Building, which opened in 2007, died on July 31, 2011. She was 90
  • Edward Carlos Plunkett, an Irish abstract painter known as Lord Dunsany who emerged in the 1960s but traded in art for design in the 1980s, died on May 24, 2011, at the age of 71. He helped found de Marsillac Plunkett, for which he created furniture and decorative vessels to complement his wife’s architectural work, yet returned to painting in the 1990s
  • Wonil Rhee, a prolific South Korean curator who organized numerous exhibitions and biennials around the world, died on January 11, 2011, at the age of 50. Working at several musuems and independently, Rhee diligently promoted contemporary Asian artists and evoked broader international dialogue via exhibitions such as Thermocline of Art: New Asian Waves (2007) at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Germany
  • Albert M. Sack, a New York–based antique dealer and the author of Fine Points of American Furniture: Good, Better, Best (1950), an important criterion for aesthetic judgment of furniture for collectors and nonspecialists alike, died on May 29, 2011. He was 96
  • Stanley Seeger, a coy patron of art known for a stunning collection of homes in the United Kingdom and an expansive collection of work by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Egon Schiele, and Francis Bacon, died on June 24, 2011. He was 81 years old
  • Robert Sklar, a professor of cinema studies at New York University from 1977 to 2009 and the author of several publications exploring how film influences morals, beliefs, and social context, including Movie-Made America: A History of American Movies (1975), died on July 2, 2011, at age 74. An active member of the National Film Preservation Board, Sklar served on the New York Film Festival selection committee during the 1990s
  • Geoffrey Squire, a designer and an educator at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, both in London, died in June 2011 at the age of 86. Squire was the author of Dress, Art, and Society, 1560–1970 (1974) and The Observer’s Book of European Costumes (1975)
  • Alex Steinweiss, an art director at Columbia Records who in 1940 invented the modern album cover when he packaged a Rodgers and Hart 78 RPM record with a grandly lit marquee on the sleeve rather than a flat monochrome packaging, died on July 17, 2011. He was 94
  • Zdenek Sykora, a Czech artist whose computer-generated compositions in the 1960s garnered attention for their relentless mathematical method and abstraction within predetermined rules, died on July 12, 2011, at age 91. He was also a professor at Charles University in Prague
  • Prince Twins Seven-Seven, a Nigerian painter associated with the Oshogbo School in Ibadan who focused on Yoruban myths through intricate patterns and bright colors, died on June 16, 2011, at the age of 67. His work was shown internationally, including the controversial 1989 exhibition Magiciens de la Terre in Paris
  • James Earnest Vivieaere, a New Zealand–based artist whose multimedia and video work demonstrated the multifarious identity of Pacific Islanders outside their enforced exoticism, died on June 3, 2011, at age 63. As a curator, Vivieaere produced the survey exhibitions Bottled Ocean (1994) in his home country and The Great Journey: In Pursuit of the Ancestral Realm (2009) in Taiwan
  • Shelagh Wakeley, an installation artist who focused on integrating continuity and sensation into public spaces in Britain while contrasting nature and artifice, died on March 19, 2011, at the age of 78. She met the Brazilian artist Tunga in 1989 and collaborated with him on video projects in the 1990s
  • George White, architect of the American Capitol from 1971 to 1995 who was responsible for maintaining the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and the surrounding grounds, died on June 17, 2011, at the age of 90. White oversaw the complete restoration of the Capitol Building’s rotunda, renovations of the Supreme Court and Senate Chamber, and the revitalization of the electrical and transportation systems in Congressional office buildings

Read all past obituaries in the arts in CAA News, which include special texts written for CAA. Please send links to published obituaries to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor, for the September listing.



Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

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