Vita Petersen, German-born abstract artist, died Oct. 22 in New York, age 96. Petersen painted abstract, colorful forms characterized by rigorous, quiet gestures, often in pastel on paper. She showed with Betty Parsons Gallery in the 1960s, during which time she moved towards figuration, painting figures in a crowd or still lifes, but she returned to abstraction thereafter. Her paintings are in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Weatherspoon Art Museum.
Werner Muensterberger, psychoanalyst, art historian, author and collector of African art, died Mar. 6 at his home in New York. He was just shy of 98.
His 1994 book Collecting, an Unruly Passion
examines collectors through a psychoanalytic lens, and has become a classic in the field, illuminating the motivation that drives collectors, and the childhood experiences behind their sometimes illogical behavior, e.g., collecting as an exercise in self-soothing, a way to cope with childhood anxiety or trauma. In the aftermath of its publication, various collectors signed up to be his patients, joining a long line of luminaries that had spent time on his couch since the 1950s, which included Danny Kaye, Laurence Olivier, James Dean and Marlon Brando. Some of them had been referred to Muensterberger by his colleague Erich Fromm, who was treating the same patients on the West Coast. His near-century-long life included exchanges with personalities like Thomas Mann, Mary Wigman, Pablo Picasso, Sigmund Freud, Constantin Brancusi, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein and Robert Rosenblum. Read More
The Art Basel fair franchise is the Harvard of art fairs. Elite, exclusive and secretive, it’s a powerful club whose members don’t willingly depart. Art Basel doesn’t take place until mid-June, but in Berlin, it is already the talk of the town. While some amount of resentment is inevitable when 300 galleries are picked out of 1,000 applicants, usually those who are left out don’t make a fuss, hoping for a chance the next year. But this time, someone made a public issue of it.
When one of Germany’s most prominent galleries, Eigen + Art, which first took part in Art Basel in 1991 and has been a regular since 2000, was not on the list of participants, its stunned founder, Gerd Harry “Judy” Lybke, issued a press release quoting the form … Read More