Obituary

John McWhinnie, Dealer of Art and Rare Books, Dies at 43

100510 john mcwhinnie 01 550x367 John McWhinnie, Dealer of Art and Rare Books, Dies at 43

McWhinnie at Opening Ceremony (Photo courtesy of http://www.johnmcwhinnie.com)

The New York art and rare books dealer John McWhinnie died yesterday in a snorkeling accident while on vacation in the British Virgin Islands. He was 43.

Virgin Islands police told East Hampton Patch that McWhinnie and his wife, jewelry designer Maria Beaulieu, were caught in a current while snorkeling on a coral reef off Savannah Bay beach, half an hour from Tortola. A man on the beach managed to pull Ms. Beaulieu from the water, but was unable to find her husband, who was recovered by emergency personnel half an hour later and was unable to be resuscitated.

Mr. McWhinnie divided his time between Manhattan and East Hampton, managing Glenn Horowitz’s flagship East Hampton bookstore for eight years before opening his own stores with Mr. Horowitz as a partnership in 2005. A downtown fixture, he championed the work of artists like Cindy Sherman, Matthew Satz, Nicholas Weber, Peter Sabbath, Jameson Ellis and Richard Prince, a prodigious book collector who frequently bought from McWhinnie.

In a conversation with Glenn O’Brien for Interview, Mr. Prince said McWhinnie helped him track down a copy of On the Road that was once owned by Neal Cassady, the man who served as Jack Kerouac’s inspiration for the character Dean Moriarty.

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Comments

  1. Adam Lindemann says:

    John I can’t believe you are gone, you’re one of the most interesting people in NYC, as well as smartest and most eccentric.This can’t happen, there’s noone like you.

  2. Georgemrdith says:

    This is a loss I cannot comprehend. Love beyond end to Maria. And all those who know how deep this goes.

  3. guest says:

    I am sorry to hear about this terrible accident and what his wife went through

  4. Fabiola Alondra says:

    John, you were a friend and a mentor. You were an inspiration and It was an honor working with you. Your vision and passion was unique. All my love goes out to Maria in this difficult time. Love and miss you, John.

  5. Todd Levin says:

    What a tragedy. His perspicacity, connoisseurship, and sophistication will be long remembered and much missed. We have lost a true friend to the Arts….

  6. John Cheim says:

    a wonderful, wonderful rare man….

  7. Kristian Nammack says:

    Tragically sad.

  8. Hanslarssson Sth says:

    John i dont know what to say..THE sad news That ypo are gone has reach me here in Sweden.just whana tell you! Thanks for your suport to My art work and to My collecting,you where à greattt friend. Best hans

  9. Lhoptman says:

    A terrible tragedy and a huge loss for the contemporary art world. John was a true connoisseur and a deeply knowledgeable person. It was an honor to work with him. Laura Hoptman

  10. Mark Borghi says:

    Sad will be missed on the east end

  11. Delia Brown says:

    This is terrible news. I feel so confounded. I am working on paintings of him right now. If anyone has Maria’s address could you please send it along to me? Thank you.

    1. Glennhorowitz says:

      Delia: Glenn Horowitz here. Call me at downtown office—212 691 9100–and I’ll fill you in. Best,

      Glenn

  12. Eric Cahan says:

    So sad he’s gone. Such a tragedy and a terrible loss for anyone that has ever had the pleasure to know John.
    My condolences.

  13. Vanina Holasek says:

    So sad, John was so young and so interesting. I remember always stoping by his book store whenever I was in the Hamptons to view books I had never seen before. My true condolences to Maria.

  14. A wonderful being , and and one of the few passionate art book connoisseurs still out there.

  15. Paula Beaulieu says:

    Thinking of Mimi and the tragic loss of her husband

  16. Linda Scott says:

    My condolences to his family. Your friends in Maine will miss you

  17. Peter Dayton says:

    John you were the best and I’m so sorry You were so supportive of my work from day one I’ll never forget you ever. I remember the first time I laid eyes on you at the shop on Newtown. You sold me that Horst book for $100 off for my wife for Christmas. When i got outside I said to myself ”that guy has the best haircut ever”…That was 12 years ago.Thank you Glenn Horowitz for bringing him out here . He was so good to all us artists He made it so thrilling with all his amazing comments. Nothing got past him nothing.

  18. Marshall Weber says:

    All of us at Booklyn are shocked and we send our love to John’s family.

    John’s death is a great loss for the art and book community.

    Its unbelievable!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I will always be grateful to John for giving me my first gallery installation and my first solo exhibition (as well as my first gig as a curator) at Glenn’s bookshop in East Hampton. He was always supportive and enthusiastic about my art. I hope he’s found peace. My deepest condolences to Maria and his family.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I will always be grateful to John for giving me my first gallery installation and my first solo exhibition (as well as my first gig as a curator) at Glenn’s bookshop in East Hampton. He was always supportive and enthusiastic about my art. I hope he’s found peace. My deepest condolences to Maria and his family.

  21. Ron Guttman says:

    We are so shocked and sad/mad at such loss…we remember so vividly how great a dancer he was, with Maria. And what a dealer: you wanted to buy from him, books, prints, he believed in the “locals” with such desire to see them move up. Refreshing.
    May his soul’s perfume remind us what his business should be about.

  22. Pilita6 says:

    Dear John, New York will never be the same without you, subtlety has left with you

  23. Ed Templeton says:

    I met him at Paris Photo this year for the first time. He graciously showed me a rare book took loads of time explaining it and telling me what he knew of it. I kept thinking, “how nice of this guy to take all this time showing me this very expensive book.” So it’s very sad to hear of this tragedy.