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Artists' Estates offers a fascinating journey into the complex and competitive art world through the distinctive lens of those who deal with the paintings, prints, and sculpture that artists leave behind after their deaths. Bringing together interviews conducted by Magda Salvesen, the widow of the second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter Jon Schueler, this unique book provides a window into the goals and desires, the conflicts and frustrations, and the emotional and financial strains that confront widows, companions, sons, and daughters as the heirs to artists' estates.
The judiciously arranged and edited interviews also address the benefits and liabilities of foundations and trusts through the insights of lawyers, gallery dealers, and foundation directors. Readers will explore well-known estates, including those of Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, Milton Avery, Romare Bearden, David Smith, Richard Diebenkom, and Fairfield Porter, as well as discover the intriguing legacies of lesser-known artists.
These examples are prefaced by Salvesen's provocative account of her own experience doing "widow's work." Together, the passionate testimonies of families and lovers, the measured voices of art professionals, and the more than eighty photographs offer a vivid and captivating portrait of the relationship between artists and their heirs, the roles of market forces and tax codes, and the place of critical writing and exhibitions in shaping an artist's reputation.
The vibrant tapestry of voices also captures the distinctive flavor of the generation of artists whose work came to the fore in the fifties and sixties. An impressive and irresistible collection, Artists' Estates is an indispensable entree into the private and public art world in America.