Obituaries

News

Leading New York gallerist Barbara Gladstone has died, aged 89

The dealer, who died in Paris “after a brief illness”, represented many of the most ambitious contemporary artists of the past half-century

Benjamin Sutton17 June 2024

Sidney Felsen, co-founder of influential Los Angeles printmaking studio Gemini GEL, has died, aged 99

Felsen was also a trained artist and prolific photographer, who documented his close contact with the artists who worked at Gemini

Wallace Ludel12 June 2024

Remembering Frank Stella, one of the leading abstract artists of his generation

The American artist married complex with simple, from Minimalist canvases to “maximalist” sculptures

Matthew Holman19 June 2024

Remembering Paul Auster, the ground-breaking novelist who fused art and literature

The New Yorker's collaboration with the artist Sophie Calle was just one way in which art was interlaced with his life and work

Ben Luke7 June 2024

Remembering Faith Ringgold, one of the great story-tellers of American art

New York artist was acclaimed for the power of her paintings and quilts telling the civil rights story

Matthew Holman19 June 2024

Further obituaries

Art and artists

Obituaries of painters, sculptors and digital artists

Artur Snitkus, Ukrainian artist and musician, killed in combat near Donetsk, aged 36

In tributes, friends and colleagues described him as “icon of the Ukrainian queer underground” and “a holy man”

Remembering Richard Serra, the American sculptor whose monumental works conjure a sense of wonder in the world

"The acerbic and sometimes misanthropic troublemaker who was such a generous champion of younger artists and critics"

Remembering Pope.L, the self-proclaimed 'friendliest Black artist in America'

His 50-year career was filled with transgressive performances, including the Times Square Crawls, which interrogated race and class

Lucas Samaras, tirelessly adventurous New York artist, has died, aged 87

The Greek American artist was always willing to try new forms and materials, working across sculpture, photography, performance, installation and more

Günter Brus, central figure of Viennese Actionism, has died, aged 85

Brus was the last surviving founder of the movement, though he abandoned performance art after 1970

Politics and society

Obituaries of politicians, heads of state and social leaders connected to art and the art world

Remembering Henry Kissinger, master of art politics, whose Cold War diplomacy still had resonance in 2023

Kissinger, one of the most photographed men of his time, with an instantly recognisable pair of spectacles, was a powerful graphic gift to artists including Philip Guston

Remembering Queen Elizabeth II, the British sovereign who perfected the fine art of monarchy

Over seven decades, the monarch used ceremonial, media and heritage to project soft power around the globe

Pope Benedict XVI, for eight years proprietor in trust of the Vatican's library and art collection, has died aged 95

The German-born conservative pontiff, a noted theological scholar, tried to accommodate contemporary art but became a subject of satire

Harry Belafonte, singer, actor and civil rights champion inspired by artists' involvement in social causes, has died, aged 96

Belafonte cited Pablo Picasso and his artist friend Charles White among the visual and performing artists whose support of social justice movements inspired his activism

Silvio Berlusconi, politician and early proponent of 'culture war' rhetoric, has died, aged 86

The outspoken leader of three Italian governments between 1994 and 2011 was often publicly critical of contemporary art and architecture projects in Italy

Philanthropy

Remembering Jacob Rothschild, banker, collector, philanthropist, and a towering figure in the British art world

A scion of the famous banking dynasty, he led the National Gallery, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Waddesdon Manor

Remembering Myriam Ullens, art collector, and philanthropist, who launched the first contemporary art museum in China

Belgian entrepreneur in fashion, food and art, co-founded the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, in Beijing, with her husband, Guy Ullens

John Sainsbury, former supermarket boss and major patron of British museums, has died aged 94

Benefactors of his gifts include London's National Gallery, Tate Britain, Dulwich Picture Gallery, the British Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and the Royal Opera House

Evelyn de Rothschild—banker, collector, art patron and philanthropist—has died, aged 91

He inherited his family's Ascott House collection of English furniture, Chinese porcelain, British paintings and Old Masters, and built a new collection of Modern and contemporary works with his third wife, Lynn Forester

Tribute to Marella Agnelli—doyenne of high society

The art collector and museum founder who married into the Agnelli dynasty was a woman of charm and intelligence

Art market

Leading New York gallerist Barbara Gladstone has died, aged 89

The dealer, who died in Paris “after a brief illness”, represented many of the most ambitious contemporary artists of the past half-century

Bonhams executive Alex Fortescue has died aged 55

His death was confirmed by Epiris, the private equity firm that owns the auction house

Remembering Virginia Dwan: the US's first bicoastal gallerist

Hugely influential art dealer whose galleries in Los Angeles and New York launched Minimalism and Land Art in the US

Remembering Michel Strauss, Impressionist supremo at Sotheby’s over four decades

Expert from a French collecting dynasty saw first-hand the fast-changing art world of the 1960s and helped British Rail create its renowned collection

Peregrine Pollen, who revitalised auction industry and laid the ground for the booming art market of the 21st century, has died, age 89

One of the most dynamic figures in the international expansion of Sotheby's in the 1960s and 1970s, descended from generations of collectors and men of action

Art criticism

Remembering Peter Schjeldahl: indispensable critic, poet, and lyrical observer of the embodied experience of art

His direct and personal style made him a well-respected chronicler of the US art scene for over 50 years

Considering Greg Tate’s transformative impact on cultural criticism

The writer, musician and professor, who died earlier this month, wrote some of the most influential and creative art criticism of the past half-century

Dave Hickey, influential critic who saw art as inseparable from everyday life, has died aged 82

He prized accessible writing and paired discussions of sports and food with his artistic analyses in widely read books like ‘The Invisible Dragon’ and ‘Air Guitar’

Art history and scholarship

Remembering Kavita Singh, acclaimed historian of Indian art and museology, who has died, aged 58

An expert on Mughal, Rajput and Deccan painting traditions, she was unafraid to address rising nationalism in state-led cultural institutions

Remembering Richard Verdi, art historian and long-time director of the Barber Institute, who has died, aged 81

An inspirational teacher, charismatic museum director, Poussin scholar and curator, he was working to the end

John Harris—an architectural historian and eagle-eyed connoisseur—has died, aged 90

A scholar of Inigo Jones and William Chambers, Harris mounted landmark exhibitions based on the RIBA drawings collection that he so radically transformed

Museums

Remembering Michael Archer, member of a golden age of curators at the Victoria and Albert Museum, who has died, aged 85

For more than 20 years, Archer enriched the ceramics department of the V&A with important acquisitions and research on glass, pottery and the tin-glazed earthenware on which he was a world authority

Achim Borchardt-Hume (1965-2021): an appreciation

The untimely death of the distinguished Tate Modern curator, who died last week at the age of 56, "leaves an enormous gap", writes former Tate director Nicholas Serota

Alan Bowness, museum director who established the Turner Prize and Tate Liverpool, has died aged 93

Scholar with an international outlook who was director of the Henry Moore Foundation and executor of his mother-in-law, Barbara Hepworth

Remembering Alan Bowness, Tate director who helped change public attitudes to contemporary art

His successor at the London institution pays personal tribute to the persuasive and effective British curator, writer and critic

Architecture

Remembering Richard Rogers, Centre Pompidou architect who waded into the culture wars with his unique, hi-tech style

Anglo-Italian architect was responsible for numerous landmark buildings around the world including the Lloyd's insurance building in London

Rafael Viñoly—museum 'starchitect' who believed in experience over aesthetics—has died, aged 78

Uruguayan-born architect had an acute understanding of the visual arts and produced prize-winning buildings

Remembering Balkrishna Doshi, artist, teacher and father of modernist Indian architecture, who has died, aged 95

Innovative architect was at heart of rebuilding independent India, a protégé of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, and winner of the Pritzker Prize and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal

Antoine Predock, architect of distinctive museums in the US and Canada, has died, aged 87

His Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Tang Teaching Museum and Tacoma Art Museum were typical of an approach that melded modernism and post-modernism into a characteristically unpredictable aesthetic

Remembering Owen Luder, architect whose gifts ran far wider than the Brutalist landmarks he is known for

Two of his most famous buildings, the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth and the Trinity Car Park and Shopping Centre in Gateshead, were demolished earlier this century

Alan Powers

Collecting

Hamburg art collector and patron Harald Falckenberg dies aged 80

Falckenberg, one of Germany’s most important private art collectors, once said he was drawn to “outsiders and freaks"

Remembering Barry Humphries, art lover, artist and creator of Dame Edna Everage, who has died, aged 89

Australian comedian and actor was a passionate champion of museums, libraries and the visual arts, and a collector of late 19th-century artists and authors

Emily Fisher Landau, contemporary art collector and important Whitney Museum benefactor, has died, aged 102

Landau, whose discerning eye and aesthetic curiosity made her a fixture in the art world from the 1980s onward, began collecting after receiving an insurance settlement for a jewellery heist at her home

Remembering Jayne Wrightsman

A reminiscence of the New York socialite, arts patron and philanthropist by Keith Christiansen, the chairman of the Met's European Paintings Department

Eli Broad, an unexpected—and often unreasonable—arts patron

The self-made billionaire helped shape the Los Angeles art scene, while clashing with most of its prominent museum leaders

Heritage

Richard M. Barancik, the last living Monuments Man, has died, aged 98

He was part of a group that saved thousands of artworks during the Second World War from destruction and seizure by the Nazis

Remembering Desideria Pasolini Dall'Onda, who battled to protect Italy's ecology and cultural heritage

Writer, translator of Virginia Woolf, and historian of gardening and farming she became a champion of conservation by co-founding Italia Nostra

French general in charge of Notre Dame rebuild dies in a hiking accident

The death of Jean-Louis Georgelin might hamper efforts to reopen the cathedral by the end of 2024

Remembering Gianluigi Colalucci, who oversaw the 14-year restoration of Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel

The restorer expertly honoured the "oneness of a work of art" and always balanced its historical and aesthetic qualities

Obituary: Nathalie Brooke, a leading figure in the preservation of Venice

A remarkable cultural ambassador in London's art, political, and musical scene and on return visits to her native Russia. One of the founders of Venice in Peril

Fashion and design

Remembering Vivienne Westwood, godmother of punk and designer to the art tribe, who has died aged 81

The outspoken and original couturier referenced historical costume along with portraiture and campaigned for free access to museums

Issey Miyake, ground-breaking Japanese fashion designer and favourite of museum costume institutes, has died, aged 84

After surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as a child, Miyake turned to clothes as a modern, optimistic form of creativity, and revived the use of pleats to create wearable, free-flowing, unisex clothes

Remembering Kenzo Takada, the designer and artist who created the first global, multicultural, fashion brand

In everything he made—clothes, spectacles inspired by his trademark round lenses, home furnishings, parfumerie—Takada's love of fine art remained close at hand

Remembering Terence Conran: a design maestro who rose alongside groovy London in the Swinging Sixties

From Habitat to the Design Museum, from the Soup Kitchen to Quaglino’s, he transformed Britain’s cultural landscape

Photography

'The Charlie Chaplin of street photography': Elliott Erwitt remembered by those who knew him best

Martin Parr and Magnum colleagues remember the renowned American street photographer, who has died at age 95

Brian Griffin, photographer of rock stars and construction workers, has died aged 75

Best known for his album covers for bands including Depeche Mode, the UK photographer was influenced by the heavy industry of the Black Country where he grew up

Kwame Brathwaite, photographer who encapsulated ‘Black is beautiful’ movement, has died, aged 85

The New York photographer pioneered lighting and developing techniques that helped transformed how Black figures were photographed and seen

Marilyn Stafford, a pioneer of street and fashion photography, has died, aged 97

Social observation was key to the work of the recently rediscovered protégée of Francesco Scavullo and Henri Cartier-Bresson

Remembering Peter Beard, photographer and artist, champion of East African wildlife, friend and collaborator of Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol

Photographer, diarist, and collagist who highlighted the destruction of the African elephant's habitat and bestrode New York society in the era of Studio 54

Theatre and film

Peter Brook, a giant of international theatre whose stage work moved in sympathy with the visual arts, has died, aged 97

Brook's influential "white-cube" 1970 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and his epic 1985 realisation of the Sanskrit epic The Mahābhārata find echoes in art history

'A meteor blazing through the world': tributes pour in for the influential film producer Jess Search

The co-founder of The Doc Society and the architect behind numerous films by visual artists was diagnosed with a brain tumour in July

Kenneth Anger, creator of visionary and transgressive films, has died, aged 96

The film-maker and moving image artist was best known for his boundary-pushing (and, according to some, blasphemous) 1963 film “Scorpio Rising”

Literature

Remembering Paul Auster, the ground-breaking novelist who fused art and literature

The New Yorker's collaboration with the artist Sophie Calle was just one way in which art was interlaced with his life and work

Remembering Raymond Briggs: pioneering illustrator and creator of beloved book The Snowman

Briggs used his charming, low-tech visual style to devastating emotional effect in his adult, anti-war books as much as in his beloved children's tales and their film adaptations

‘As if he has just left the room’: a farewell tour of the studio of Raymond Briggs, creator of The Snowman

The Sussex house-cum-studio where the graphic novelist worked for six decades proves to be as colourful, characterful, and packed with verve as his classic visual narratives

Audrey Flack, a pioneer of Photorealism, has died, aged 93

A survey of the artist's work from the last four years of her life, will be on view at the Parrish Art Museum this autumn

Obituariesfeature

Remembering the Dutch avant-garde artist Jacqueline de Jong

Her six decade-long career was distinguished by experimentation and humour

Anton van Dalen, who imaginatively chronicled life in Lower Manhattan, has died, aged 86

An East Village fixture for a half-century, Van Dalen created stylised drawings, paintings, sculptures and performances documenting his surroundings

Benjamin Vautier, a French Fluxus artist known for his playful painted phrases, has died, aged 88

His irreverent texts, signed simply “Ben”, spanned art and merchandise that was ubiquitous in France

Israeli artist, curator and gallery founder Chaim Peri has died in Hamas captivity, aged 79

Peri, who was abducted from his home in Kibbutz Nir Oz on 7 October, was a multi-disciplinary artist and activist who founded The White House gallery

Frank Stella, a painter's painter and one of the leading abstract artists of his generation, has died, aged 87

His landmark "Black Paintings" series marked Stella as a Minimalist in the 1960s before he expanded his range to include brightly coloured pieces on shaped canvases, relief paintings, large-scale sculpture and work with architects

Faith Ringgold, acclaimed for the power of paintings and quilts that tell stories of the Civil Rights movement, has died, aged 93

A champion of fellow Black and women artists, the New York-born painter and sculptor made a second reputation as writer and illustrator of admired children's stories

Richard Serra, creator of audacious steel sculptures, has died aged 85

The American sculptor received the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale

Renowned Palestinian artist Fathi Ghaben, unable to leave Gaza for medical treatment, dies aged 77

The artist, hailed as the "Van Gogh of Gaza", suffered from chest and lung issues that needed urgent care

Carl Andre, giant of Minimalism who was tried for and acquitted of murder, has died, aged 88

Andre rose to prominence in the New York art world of the 1960s to become a totemic—and controversial—figure renowned for his material-driven sculptures

Robert Whitman, artist renowned for experiments with performance and technology, has died, aged 88

Whitman was a pioneer of the early performance art events known as Happenings and collaborated with Robert Rauschenberg and others on technologically ambitious projects

From Phyllida Barlow to Angela Flowers—remembering the artists, collectors, curators and gallerists who died in 2023

The artists Vivan Sundaram and Françoise Gilot, collectors Harald Falckenberg and Barry Humphries plus curator Vincent Honoré were also lost to the art world this year

Artists and curators pay tribute to performance pioneer Pope.L who has died aged 68

The artist, known for his Crawl series, treated 'absurdity of racism in an unflinching way’

Giovanni Anselmo, pioneer of Arte Povera, has died, aged 89

Italian artist, who won Venice’s Golden Lion award in 1990, is subject of a Guggenheim Bilbao retrospective next year

US artist Richard Hunt—creator of more than 160 public works—has died aged 88

The sculptor, who was committed to civil rights, recently completed a monument to Emmett Till

Former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter's portrait goes on view at National Portrait Gallery

The pastel double-portrait of President Jimmy Carter's recently deceased wife was drawn by Robert Clark Templeton

Radcliffe Bailey, an artist who explored the Black American experience across materials and forms, has died, aged 55

Known for toggling between works rooted in painting and more sprawling sculptures and installations, he was always concerned with the histories of objects and materials

UK Pop art pioneer Joe Tilson has died, aged 95

Art world figures pay tribute to "one of the most inventive printmakers"

Obituariesfeature

Remembering Park Seo-Bo, the ‘Father of Korean Contemporary Art’

A leading figure in the Dansaekhwa movement, he had a profound influence on the teaching of painting and the administration of art studies

Juanita McNeely, feminist artist who created visceral paintings inspired by personal hardship, has died, aged 87

A survivor of cancer and an illegal abortion, McNeely channelled her experiences into very personal work

Ida Applebroog, who made wide-ranging work with a feminist edge, has died, aged 93

The American artist was long associated with the feminist art movement but resented the label, preferring to form her own critical iconography

Park Seo-Bo, one of South Korea's leading artists, has died aged 91

The father of the Dansaekhwa movement was known for monochrome works with roots in Buddhist philosophy

Fernando Botero, the Colombian artist beloved for his rotund figures, has died, aged 91

Botero re-imagined art historical motifs but also responded to current events, including a series of visceral paintings in response to the Abu Ghraib torture scandal

Claude Ruiz Picasso, the artist’s son and manager of the Picasso estate, has died

The management of one of the world's most valuable art collections has now been passed to Paloma Ruiz Picasso, the last of Pablo Picasso's four children

Obituariesfeature

Remembering Jamie Reid, a protest artist to the end and the man behind the shocking visual impact of the Sex Pistols

The artist's gallerist recalls a visionary who built creative communities in London and Liverpool and had a profound effect on British popular culture

Angela Flowers, dealer at the heart of British art for 50 years, has died aged 90

Flowers built a global empire from Hong Kong to Hackney and always championed artists

Obituariesfeature

Remembering Françoise Gilot, who showed that being a muse of Pablo Picasso did not preclude being a great artist herself

The French painter and memoirist, who worked in Paris, London and the United States, showed elegance and ferocity in her work and a remarkable versatility as a colourist

Brice Marden, painter revered for his distinctive approach to abstraction, has died, aged 84

Marden rose to prominence in the 1960s and 70s, synthesizing elements of Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, Minimalism and more into his own unique idiom

Jamie Reid, graphic designer who defined the visual character of the punk movement, has died aged 76

The artist's subversive collage work for the Sex Pistols' single 'God Save The Queen' was a defining image of 1970s protest