Emily Fisher Landau Wikipedia, Wiki, Obituary, Net Worth, Collection, Biography, Funeral, Young
Emily Fisher Landau Wikipedia, Wiki, Obituary, Net Worth, Collection, Biography, Funeral, Young – Emily Fisher Landau, a remarkable New Yorker, left an indelible mark on the world of contemporary art and philanthropy during her remarkable 102-year life. She used a significant insurance settlement from a jewel heist to build one of America’s premier collections of contemporary art. Her journey from a victim of crime to a prominent art patron and philanthropist is a story of resilience, passion, and dedication.
Emily Fisher Landau Early Life
Emily Fisher Landau was born on August 23, 1920, in Glens Falls, New York. She grew up in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, where her father, Samuel Lanzner, developed and owned a building named Emily Court in her honor. Her mother, Cecilia Lanzner, was a homemaker. Emily’s early life was marked by her family’s involvement in real estate, and she was destined to make her mark in the world of art.
She aspired to become an artist herself, but her life took an unexpected turn when her father sent her to secretarial school. Nevertheless, her passion for art never waned, and she embarked on a journey into the world of art that would eventually lead to her becoming one of the most influential figures in contemporary art.
A Life-Changing Heist
In 1969, Emily’s life took a dramatic turn when armed burglars disguised as air conditioning repairmen broke into her apartment in the Imperial House building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The burglars bound the cook in a guest closet and accessed a floor safe hidden inside another closet. This safe held a treasure trove of jewelry that Emily’s husband, Martin Fisher, a real estate developer, had gifted her over the years. The stolen jewelry included parures featuring emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds, as well as a 39-carat blue-white diamond solitaire.
Emily described her devastation at the heist but also recognized an opportunity. She decided that she no longer wanted the jewelry and saw the insurance settlement as seed money to start a collection of contemporary art. She famously said, “I was devastated, but I decided that I didn’t want the jewelry anymore. I now had seed money for a collection.”
This significant turning point in her life allowed Emily to pursue her true passion: art. She had always wanted to buy paintings, and now she had the means to do so.
Building a Remarkable Collection
With the insurance settlement from the jewel heist, Emily Fisher Landau began her journey as an art collector. She started informally, without any formal art education, and her first major art purchase was a three-and-a-half-foot-tall Calder mobile in 1968. She bought it from its owner on Central Park West and brought it home on a crosstown bus, an experience that demonstrated her deep commitment to art.
Her art collecting journey continued, and she discovered the work of artists like Josef Albers when she chanced upon a poster in a gallery window. Albers’ minimalist art style resonated with her, and this discovery marked the beginning of her passion for simplicity in art. Emily’s collecting choices were always guided by her instincts and personal preferences rather than what was fashionable.
Her collection grew rapidly, with purchases including works by renowned artists such as Matisse, Mondrian, Jean Arp, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Paul Klee, Louise Nevelson, and Lucas Samaras. Her dedication to collecting was unwavering, and she described those years as the “buy years” when she spent all her money on art.
Pace Gallery, along with the Leo Castelli Gallery in Manhattan, played significant roles in shaping her collection. Her long-standing relationship with Arne Glimcher, the owner of Pace Gallery, and his partner Fred Mueller further fueled her passion for art. She vividly recalled buying art both with her husband and independently, emphasizing that her choices were always driven by her personal preferences rather than trends.
A Collector’s Transformation
Tragedy struck when Emily’s husband, Martin Fisher, passed away in 1976. She described this period as a “big gap in the collection,” and she temporarily paused her collecting endeavors. However, her life took a new turn when she met Bill Katz, a New York theater and restaurant designer, in about 1980. What began as a commission to redecorate her Park Avenue apartment evolved into a profound relationship. Katz, also an art consultant, encouraged her to explore contemporary art and look beyond the core modernists in her collection.
Katz’s guidance led Emily to immerse herself in the vibrant art world of 1980s and 1990s New York. She started focusing on contemporary works, sometimes even acquiring entire rooms of art from exhibitions. Emily’s ability to embrace the “zeitgeist” of the art world made her a prominent figure in the art scene, and she became known for supporting emerging artists and collecting works that pushed the boundaries of contemporary art.
By the mid-1980s, Emily Fisher Landau had become a trustee at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she played a crucial role for nearly 25 years. Her impact on the museum was profound, and the fourth floor of the Whitney Museum was named in her honor in 1994. In the same year, she established an endowment for the Whitney Biennial exhibitions, highlighting her commitment to fostering artistic innovation.
Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of the Whitney Museum, praised her as “one of the most important trustees in Whitney history.” Beyond the Whitney, Emily served on committees at the Museum of Modern Art and on the boards of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and SITE Santa Fe museum, both located in New Mexico. Her support of cultural institutions even earned her the distinction of being inducted into the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government as a chevalier.
A Philanthropic Legacy
Emily Fisher Landau’s impact extended far beyond the art world. She was a passionate advocate for causes close to her heart, particularly those related to education and dyslexia. As a dyslexic individual herself, she understood the challenges faced by dyslexic children and was determined to make a difference.
She established the Fisher Landau Foundation to support research on dyslexia and provide assistance to dyslexic children. Additionally, she founded the Fisher Landau Center for the Treatment of Learning Disabilities for children, adolescents, and adults at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. Her commitment to education and her advocacy for individuals with learning disabilities exemplify her dedication to making the world a better place.
Emily also had a seat on the board of the Metropolitan Opera, demonstrating her support for the arts in various forms.
A Visionary Museum
In the late 1980s, Emily Fisher Landau took a bold step by acquiring a 25,000-square-foot former parachute-harness factory in Long Island City. Her vision was to transform this space into a private museum that would be open to the public at no charge. Max Gordon, a minimalist London architect known for his work on the Saatchi Collection in London, was entrusted with the task of converting the concrete structure into the Fisher Landau Center for Art.
This remarkable private museum showcased her commitment to preserving contemporary art for future generations. It was a place where the public could access her extensive collection and appreciate the diversity of contemporary artistic expression. Her decision to create a museum not only for her own enjoyment but also for the benefit of the community solidified her reputation as a collector with a long-term vision.
Challenges and Legacy
As time passed and the art market evolved, Emily Fisher Landau faced personal challenges and changes in the art world. The early 2000s witnessed a different breed of art collectors, particularly from the world of hedge funds, speculating in the market. Emily, in her own words, “stepped aside” during this period, reflecting her commitment to the traditional values of refining her collection and appreciating art for its intrinsic value rather than its monetary worth.
Emily Fisher Landau’s Fisher Landau Center for Art remained open to the public until 2017, leaving a lasting legacy for art enthusiasts and the community. In her later years, she battled Alzheimer’s disease and primarily resided in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Her daughter, Candia Fisher, fondly recalls Emily’s unique perspective on life. Emily would often spot women wearing expensive jewelry and say, “That could be art on the walls.” This statement encapsulates her unwavering passion for art and her belief in its transformative power.
Emily Fisher Landau’s remarkable journey from a victim of a jewel heist to a prominent art collector, philanthropist, and advocate for education and dyslexia is a testament to her resilience, passion, and dedication. Her commitment to the world of contemporary art and her philanthropic endeavors have left an enduring impact on both the art world and society as a whole.
Through her remarkable collection and the Fisher Landau Center for Art, Emily Fisher Landau has ensured that the beauty and innovation of contemporary art continue to inspire and enrich the lives of countless individuals. Her legacy serves as a reminder of the transformative power of art and the potential for individuals to make a profound difference in the world through their passions and actions.
Emily Fisher Landau’s life is a true testament to the idea that adversity can be a catalyst for greatness, and her story will continue to inspire generations to come.
Who is Emily Fisher Landau’s husband?
Emily Fisher Landau was married to Martin Fisher, a real estate developer, until his passing in 1976. After his death, she later married Sheldon Landau, a retired clothing manufacturer.
Who are Emily Fisher Landau’s children?
Emily Fisher Landau had three children with her first husband, Martin Fisher. Their names are Richard, Anthony, and Candia.
Who is Emily Fisher Landau’s daughter?
Emily Fisher Landau’s daughter is named Candia Fisher. Candia Fisher reminisces about her mother’s art acquisitions, including a Picasso that Emily purchased in 1968, expressing her mother’s excitement about the purchase.
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