Guardianship News:

New York: Artist Peter Max can go home with his wife, judge rules

Intellectual Property Rights attorney Diane Krausz is pictured outside Civil Supreme Court after having lost guardianship of famed pop artist Peter Max. Intellectual Property Rights attorney Diane Krausz is pictured outside Civil Supreme Court after having lost guardianship of famed pop artist Peter Max.

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.

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.”

Wolf said Adam Max and Krausz also prevented Max’s court-appointed lawyer, Elizabeth Adinolfi, from seeing him for several weeks. Adinolfi says a court evaluator also was blocked from seeing Max by a health aide hired by the guardian.

“As far as I was concerned, my client had been kidnapped,” Adinolfi says in court papers.

Peter Max’s psychedelic and bright colored art took off in the late 1960s, landing him on the cover of Life magazine in 1969. His fame and wealth spread quickly, thanks in part to his licensing his artwork to companies like General Electric. At various points, he’s been the official artist for the World Series, the Super Bowl, the World Cup and the New York City Marathon.
His website says at one point, his art was licensed by more than 72 corporations, generating more than $1 billion in retail sales in a three-year period.

He got into some financial trouble in the late 1990s, when he pleaded guilty to cheating the government out of tax money.

He told The Associated Press earlier this year he still paints every day — although a pending lawsuit filed last year charged that he’s been using “ghost painters” in recent years. He has denied the charges.

Adam Max, one of two children from his father’s first marriage, has been running the company that sells and promotes his father’s artwork. Krausz is an intellectual property lawyer.

bross@nydailynews.com

To read this article on the NY Daily News website, follow this link: http://m.nydailynews.com/entertainment/artist-peter-max-wife-held-article-1.2388258