By Howard Pousner
Gudmund Vigtel, the High Museum of Art’s leader from 1963 to 1991, died Saturday at age 87.
Vigtel placed the building blocks that helped support the High’s emergence as a respected art showplace and as an exhibiting partner of esteemed national and international institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Louvre.
New on the job, he helped open the High’s home in the Memorial Arts Center, built in honor of the more than 100 Atlantans who perished in an airplane accident at Orly field in France in 1962. And he led the charge to construct, in 1983, the Richard Meier-designed Peachtree Street landmark pitched as “a museum big enough for Atlanta.”
He remained a comrade to current High Museum director Michael Shapiro, meeting him regularly, until Vigtel’s health faltered, for lunch, art talk and free advice.
Read an obituary by long-time AJC art critic Catherine Fox, who covered Vigtel and High starting in 1981, at artsatl.com. The AJC’s obituary will be published in Thursday print editions and online at ajc.com late Wednesday afternoon.