Saturday, October 17, 2015

Pop Artist Peter Max allowed to return home with his wife, judge rules in guardianship battle

Pop Artist Peter Max was freed Wednesday after being allegedly held against his will at a secret location for the last month by his son and a court-appointed guardian.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead ordered the 77-year-old be produced in court after an emergency application by his wife, Mary Max, charged that he was being kept in “illegal, unwanted and forced isolation from his wife and longtime friends.”

The jubilant pair shared a tender kiss outside their Upper West Side building when they got home.

Hours earlier, Max, who’s known for his use of psychedelic colors and shapes and has painted everyone from the Beatles to Taylor Swift, was escorted into a Lower Manhattan courtroom by private security, and smiled and waved when he saw his wife.

He first sat with his son Adam in the courtroom, before getting up and sitting with his wife for the remainder of the proceeding. She broke down in sobs with her head on his shoulder as he comforted her.

Max’s guardian, Diane Krausz, told the judge she had to get the artist away from his wife of 18 years because she’s unstable — alleging she once tried to kill herself and at one point threatened to kill her hubby. Krausz said she’d reported the threat to the Manhattan district attorney’s office on Tuesday.

She also said the artist is suffering from a mild form of dementia.

“His life is in danger. That’s all I care about,” Krausz said.

Edmead told her she’d overstepped her bounds by removing Max from his home, and said the illustrator could return to his home with his 48-year-old wife.

The pair have an unusual living arrangement — they live in adjoining apartments, and Krausz told the judge the wife lives with a 25-year-old boyfriend.

She also told the judge she would hold Mary Max’s lawyers “and you” responsible if anything happens to the artist.

“I am disregarding hearsay,” the judge said — but ordered there be no restriction on Max’s cell phone, computers or laptop access, and that he be free to communicate with family, friends and Krausz.

Peter Max declined comment on the court fight after he got home.

“You probably know more than me,” he said.

His wife emerged from the building a short time later, and just laughed when asked about the allegations that she’d threatened to kill her husband.

The battle over Max — physically and, ultimately, over his impressive body of art — has been waged secretly for weeks in Manhattan state Supreme Court and the Appellate Division because guardianship proceedings are confidential by law.

It broke into the open late Tuesday when Mary Max’s lawyer, Carolyn Reinach Wolf, filed a writ of habeus corpus in Supreme Court, saying the “unplanned unexpected and unwanted move from family surroundings” could be “highly dangerous to Peter Max’s physical, emotional and mental health.”   (Continue Reading)

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Pop Artist Peter Max allowed to return home with his wife, judge rules in guardianship battle

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