Bruce Wolmer, the longtime editor of Art & Auction magazine and an expert on the intricacies of the international art world, died Saturday, August 11, of complications from diabetes. He was 59 years old.
Wolmer was born in Manhattan in 1948, and raised on Long Island. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1968 and did graduate work at Johns Hopkins University. He began his career in art as an assistant and writer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Museum of Modern Art.
A widely published freelance critic and journalist, Wolmer was often sought out to give lectures and publish articles explaining the workings and uncertainties of the art market, especially as art sales at auctions and galleries began to skyrocket in recent years. He was also well-regarded for his navigation of Art & Auction through four different owners through some tumultuous years. He was closely connected to the magazine’s growth and stature as the art market rose, fell and rose again to its present state.
Before joining Art & Auction, Wolmer was the executive editor of ARTnews magazine and an editor at Art & Antiques. “Bruce did not cultivate objects, he cultivated writers. . . . These writers and that magazine [Art & Auction] are his memorial,” writes Charley Finch on Artnet.
He is survived by his wife, Colleen Babington, and his mother, Elaine Katz of Hewlett, N.Y. A memorial service was held at Riverside Memorial Chapel on August 15.