Peter Max – an Upper West Sider and an iconic psychedelic artist of the ‘60s and ‘70s – has been under a guardianship since December 2016 which has kept him isolated from his friends and family. All of his affairs, whether personal, financial or legal, are controlled by “court appointed strangers,” according to his daughter, Libra Max. Peter, who now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, was placed under guardianship when the “court ruled he needed protection from alleged physical, mental and emotional abuse by his then-second wife, Mary,” as reported by NY Post.
Libra claims she’s not allowed to visit her 84-year-old father at his Upper West Side apartment, the same domicile she grew up in. She’s only allowed to see her dad at a bench in Riverside Park for one hour at a time, and she must request these appointments 48 hours in advance.
These public visits are allowed only three times a week and can be canceled without any details as to why. “He is being treated like a prisoner,” Libra told the Post, going on to say how “He says, ‘Sweetie, please come up to the apartment.’ How many times can someone ask for companionship? He must feel tremendously abandoned.”
Libra also launched a website – freepetermax.com – through which she’s requesting supporters to sign a letter which will be “sent to public officials who have jurisdiction over this matter.”
“Peter Max – Pop Artist, 84-year-old devoted and loving father, loyal and compassionate friend, Holocaust survivor, animal and human rights advocate, and a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease – is being kept in forced isolation in a predatory guardianship in New York City,” the website states. “The guardianship has depleted his hard-earned life’s earnings by over $16 million, with millions being paid, without his permission, to the court-appointed guardians and attorneys who now control all aspects of his life.”
Peter Max is a holocaust survivor. Libra states that “His deepest fear was having friends and family taken away from him.”
This is the latest in an ongoing drama-filled saga surrounding Peter Max. Max’s kids have been in litigation since 2017 when Libra accused her brother Adam of allowing their father’s accountant and agent to take control of their dad’s brand in order to “enrich” themselves.
On July 18, Adam Max, 56, accused his sister Libra Max, 54, of “ousting him from their famous father’s company ALP in a ‘hostile takeover’ and installing herself as its president in February 2019, according to his Manhattan Supreme court lawsuit,” wrote the NY Post.
The ALP brand was started by the 84-year-old Peter Max, and has a total of three shareholders; both of Peter’s kids hold a 40-percent stake and Peter, with representation by a guardian, holds the final 20-percent.
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Along with Adam’s lawsuit filed on June 18 was a letter calling for a special meeting to discuss “the removal of Libra Max” and another man as the director of the corporation. Adam also wanted to discuss the election of three new directors at this meeting. When no response came, a second letter was sent, but court documents allege that it also went unanswered.
Adam claims his stake in ALP entitles him to call a meeting but Libra “will do everything in her power to prevent any meeting of shareholders from taking place,” the court papers allege. Adam’s lawyer claims ALP is supposed to hold annual shareholders meetings every June, but that they haven’t taken place since 2018.
Libra’s lawyer, Jeffrey Eilender, said in a statement that “it’s time for Adam to stop with the lawsuits and make peace with his sister. Adam has lost all of his legal battles against Libra; all of his previous claims have already been dismissed by the court. The new claims are no different — warmed over milk and meritless.”
The NY Post went on to say that Peter Max, “whose works hang in the Museum of Modern Art, has an estimated fortune of at least $65 million. An intimate of the Rolling Stones, the German immigrant became rich plastering his psychedelic designs on postage stamps, cereal boxes, album covers, even a Continental Airlines Boeing 777. Nancy Reagan asked him to paint portraits of the Statute of Liberty at the White House, after which he helped raise money to restore the monument.”
While Peter Max Studio was previously located at 37 West 65th Street, a lease was signed for a new space in West Chelsea during 2019. That same year, Mary Max, wife of Peter, committed suicide at their Upper West Side apartment.
I met Peter Max on a number of occasions when he reached out to me at Hilco Consumer Capital, a PE and Brand Licensing division of Hilco Global. I met with Peter on several occasions both in NYC and in Chicago. Peter wanted to begin licensing of his library of artwork and have control of who his work was licensed with and in what product categories. Peter is a brilliant artist whose work should be celebrated. His family should be taking care of their father, and overseeing his business and body of work — not unrelated family members.
I spent almost three decades as a friend of Peter’s, having met him in 1965, when my family moved in on the next block. Within a year, his son, Adam, and I became fast friends (we were still in our single digits). When I got into my teens, Peter and I both took yoga together with Swami Satchidananda (I was also studying Eastern philosophy with Swamiji), and I also began babysitting for Libra. Peter and I remained friends for well over two decades; I attended many of the salons at his atelier on 65th Street, and he donated items to fundraisers when I was running a PR and event management company in my 30s.
At the risk of inserting myself, I can say with certainty that during the latter decades, I never once saw Adam at any time, including at the events at the atelier. But Libra was always there; in fact, she was the one who helped coordinate those events, and was integrally involved in Peter’s business. She is the one who seemed to care, to look out for her father’s interests, to truly “be there” for him.
I have not seen or spoken to her in many years. But unless she changed radically, it would seem to me from my two or three decades of involvement that she is the one who should be administering his estate.
Please God. Allow the beings in charge to let a daughter take care of her father. Think of your loved ones or don’t you believe that family matters. ???? I am just a fan and had opportunity to see him in St. Louis plus proud owner of a few of his masterpieces. God bless you all.