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Fritz Lohman

January 15, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I just learned last night that Fritz Lohman, long-time friend of the family, died on December 31 at the age of 87. The AP provided an obituary that has appeared in several places, including for instance here. The obituary focuses on his pioneering role, along with his partner Charles, in establishing SoHo as an arts district and in championing gay and lesbian artists. I remember having dinner at their restaurant/gallery on Broome Street, perhaps in the mid 1970s, along with my brother, my sister, and my brother’s wife. As the obituary explains, they would close the gallery “in 1981 amid the turmoil of the AIDS crisis that resulted in fewer visitors to the gallery. In 1990, it reopened as the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation in the basement of a building the two men owned and two years ago it moved into the 3,600-square-foot Wooster Street space.”

The obituary also notes, in passing, that “Lohman, avuncular, balding with soft, kind eyes, also ran a successful interior design business for 40 years, until 1987 … .” That’s how we knew him best. In 1961, my parents bought the house they still live in. That would also be around the time that Fritz and Charles became partners. And it’s when Fritz became our interior designer. I didn’t think of him as avuncular at the time. Well, I didn’t even know the word then, but if I did, I wouldn’t have applied it to him. And I failed to take note of his soft, kind eyes. But I loved his voice, his humor, and his laugh. On the occasion of my Bar Mitzvah a few years later, he and Charles were kind enough to give me James R. Newman’s four-volume classic, The World of Mathematics. It has since served as a continuing reminder of his presence in my life.

Please read the full obituary. And visit the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation website (or, better yet, if you’re in the area, the gallery).

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