|Thomas Messer (1920-2013)|
It is with great sorrow that the Malevich Society announces the death of its Vise
President, Thomas Messer, on May 15, 2013. Thomas Messer was an art historian of
Czech descent, who for 27 years (1961-1988) served as the Director of the Solomon R.
Guggenheim Museum. During that time, he was responsible for many important exhibitions
of modern masters, including shows devoted to Chagall, Kupka, Moholy Nagy, and
Mondrian. During his tenure at the museum, there were at least five major exhibitions of
Vasily Kandinsky's work, and in 1981-2 the Guggenheim hosted a sensational revelation
of Russian modernism: "The Avant-garde in Russia" (The George Costakis Collection).
Especially notable is the fact that under Messer's auspices in 1973, the Guggenheim
Museum exhibited the first major survey of Malevich's work in the United States. It included
some fifty paintings, as well as many drawings, the majority of which came from the
collection of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, but also included works from Museum of
Modern Art and private collectors. It provided the first opportunity for American viewers to
see Malevich's work in substantial depth.