Peter Selz, centenarian, influential art historian, prolific author, internationally celebrated curator, and the founding director of the University Art Museum at UC Berkeley (now Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive) peacefully passed away last week at home.
“Peter Selz was a remarkable individual whose contributions to BAMPFA, UC Berkeley, and the broader art world are too numerous to count. Over the course of his tenure as our founding director, Peter transformed BAMPFA from a modest university art collection into the internationally renowned art and film institution it is today. Generations of Bay Area art lovers have benefited from his insight, knowledge, independence, and boundless energy, and his legacy will reverberate across and beyond our museum for decades to come.”—Lawrence Rinder, BAMPFA’s director and chief curator
We are honored to have published many of Peter’s books over recent decades, including the foundational text he co-authored with Kristine Stiles, Theories and Documents in Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings. Additionally, our Selz catalog includes the absorbing biography by Paul J. Karlstrom, Peter Selz: Sketches of a Life in Art.
We are particularly grateful to have participated in Peter’s 100th birthday celebrations on April 2nd at BAMPFA. One of the many ways he could count himself lucky was to have heard for himself the extraordinary, amusing, and heartfelt praise and appreciation of hundreds of colleagues, family, and friends.