Kurt E. Schon
Kurt Ernst Schon, age 94, died at his New Orleans French Quarter residence on Wednesday, October 12, 2016. Schon was an esteemed member of the international art community and had an illustrious career as an art dealer in Fine Art for over 60 years. Together with his beloved wife Anita, they created the largest gallery of nineteenth century art in the South. Born in Vienna, Austria, on January 5, 1922, he was the son of the late Joan Schwartz Schon and Jacob Schon. He attended the Therasanium Academy in Vienna. Mr. Schon immigrated to New Orleans with his family in 1941. He was known for his Viennese charm and signature Homburg hat. New Orleans, his adopted home became the city he loved and often declared, ""had he not found New Orleans he could have soon returned to Austria."" Early in his career, Mr. Schon will be remembered for his promotion of post-World War Il, French, English, German and Austrian art. But it is for his recognition and revival of 19th century Academic art that he will be best remembered. Later, following in the tradition of such legendary art dealers as Gambart and Duveen, Mr. Schon inspired American art lovers to collect "the best of the best" of 19th century European Art. His firm was best known for creating museum worthy art collections, including those that were shown in the National Gallery of Art, as well as prestigious museums throughout America. He loved art and loved people. He often quipped he would have achieved nothing without his wife Anita to whom he credited with having "organized him". His personal philosophy for the collection of art was simply "to always buy what you love." He believed that "people were the torchbearers of the legacy of art which was meant to be loved, enjoyed and preserved for future generations." Mr. and Mrs. Schon created the Schon Foundation in support of their other charities, including their generous support of NOCCA. An early advocate for historic renovation in the French Quarter, Mr. Schon brought the same unerring eye for quality to the numerous properties he restored. He loved America and thought it to be the greatest country in the world, and often said it was a place where if you had a dream, with hard work you could be a success. He continued to be active in his business until a week before his demise. Mr. Schon served in the US Army during WWII and is listed in Who's Who in America. He is a longtime member of Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation in Metairie. His is survived by his wife of 63 years, Anita Novak Schon, his daughter from his first marriage, Sylvia, two granddaughters, 5 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson; his niece Cindy Small, and dearest family friend Stacy Ferro and her two children. He was the brother of the late Lillian Schon Small. Graveside services will be held on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 12:00 noon at Jewish Burial Rites Cemetery, 4321 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, with Rabbi Deborah Silver officiating. Condolences may be expressed online at tharpsontheimerfh.com. Kindly omit flowers. Memorials are suggested to New Orleans Center for Creative Arts or St. Michael's Special School. Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp of Metairie is in charge of arrangements.
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