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Peter Schjeldahl Death, Art Critic for The New Yorker Dies at 80

Famous for his elegant and sophisticated review of the contemporary art scene of New York, art critic Peter Schjeldahl died on October 21, 2022, Friday at his home in Bovina, New York. Peter was 80 years old when he passed away. Peter Schjeldahl was most known for his essays and reviews that were published in the famous publication The New Yorker. Before writing for the American weekly The New Yorker Peter worked for The Village Voice which is an American news and culture paper that is also known for being the country’s first alternative newsweekly.  

Peter Schjeldahl Death

The death news of Peter Schjeldahl was confirmed by his wife Brooke Alderson. According to the statement of Brooke Alderson, in 2019 Peter Schjeldahl was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. After the detection of the illness, Mr. Peter underwent immunotherapy. Unexpectedly the immunotherapy went well but the truth was that Peter never fully recovered from his illness. 

peter schjeldahl

Peter Schjeldahl was a master at his craft. The depth of his knowledge about the art scenes of New York and the way he formulated his reviews and essays through brilliant choices of words are unmatched. There are only a very few critics who could match his knowledge and style of writing. Peter wrote about art from his sheer passion for it and that passion pushed him to continue his journey in the world of art for more than 50 years, making him the maestro that he was. Before shaping his career as an art critic, Peter Schjeldahl started writing as a poet. Even though the poet was left behind later in his life, the poetic words through which he translated the visual imageries into pros made him stand out from the rest. 

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Peter Schjeldahl wrote about art without any formal training knowledge or training about art history but just his love and passion for art. His fondness for art and the world of art began in the 1960s when he was in Paris. 

peter schjeldahl

“Most of what I know in a scholarly way about art I learned on deadlines, to sound as if I knew what I was talking about — as, little by little, I did,” said Peter once. 

Peter Schjeldahl was born in Fargo, North Dakota on March 20, 1942. Peter was raised in his home state and he completed his education at Carleton College, which is a private liberal arts college in Minnesota, and The New School, which is a private research university in New York. Peter started his professional career as a writer at The Jersey Journal as a reporter. 

The Paris journey which took place in Peter’s life around the 1960s was the event that finally led him into the wonderful world of art and art criticism. Peter traveled to Paris, a city famous for its museums and art, and he lived there for almost a year before he got settled in New York in 1963. 

Upon his return to New York, Peter Schjeldahl started concentrating his works in the area of art and art criticism. After his journey and later settlement in New York, Peter Schjeldahl worked as an art critic for different publications like The New Yorker, The Village Voice, ARTnews, and 7 Days. His newfound interest served him well and as a symbol of his excellence, Peter Schjeldahl joined The New Yorker in 1998 where he was appointed as the head art critic. 

Before being overtaken by art criticism, Peter Schjeldahl was deeply influenced by poetry and he used to write poetry too. The poems he wrote mostly reflected the themes, style, and ideas of  The New School, which mainly drew inspiration from surrealism. He has also published some of his poetry works. A collection of poems titled, ‘Since 1964: New and Selected Poem’ was published in 1978. The collection included works from different volumes of his creations. 

“Meeting Brooke, having Ada, and getting sober are my life’s top three red-letter days,” stated Peter in ‘The Art of Dying’, which is one of his most notable pieces of work. Peter Schjeldahl got married to Brooke Alderson and they stayed married until he passed away at 80. Brooke Alderson was an actress at the time they got married. She is known for her work in films like Just Cause (1995), Urban Cowboy (1980), and A Fine Mess (1986).

The couple has a daughter together named Ada Calhoun Schjeldahl. She was born on March 17, 1976. Today she is better known by her pen name Ada Calhoun. Ada is a popular American nonfiction writer and she is known for multiple works like St Marks is Dead which is the history of St Marks Place in East Village, Manhattan, Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give, and Why We Can’t Sleep. One of her most notable works is ‘Also a Poet: Frank O’ Hara, My Father and Me’ which was published earlier this year. The work is a memoir that describes her complicated relationship with her father and also an attempt at completing the biography of the poet Frank O’Hara which he never got the chance to complete. 

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