In Memoriam Patricia Rosoff [1949–2014]

By: Judith Tolnick Champa

head shot
Patricia Rosoff (1949–2014). Image courtesy of the Kingswood Oxford School.

We never met face to face. Yet we had many dynamic conversations. Those that take place between an editor and a writer, late at night or early in the morning, can be fascinating; they are rarely workaday. We talked about shifting phenomena, motivations and directions in contemporary art. We both loved modernism.

Whenever I proposed a topic, Pat was eager, she was game. She would involve herself with her serious-minded but inclusive approach in any exhibition review, column or feature-length article. Her last writing for publication, Now What? Plotting the Future appears in this issue of Art New England.

She was generous to a fault, as she acknowledged in her book, Innocent Eye: A Passionate Look at Contemporary Art (2013), “Judith Tolnick Champa whose warm encouragement keeps me going.” Or, typically, “Very nice edit, Judith. Tighter and clearer.” Pat wrote regularly for Art New England about art in Connecticut where she lived and worked with dedication and passion (“The ambience of the Center for British Art is one of the most beautiful situations for viewing art I can name,” she commented in one email.) At the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford she was the long-serving academic dean of humanities, and a renowned Art and English teacher.

Whether writing, as she did recently, on Harry Holtzman and American Abstraction at the Florence Griswold Museum; Red Grooms at Yale; Insook Hwang at Loomis Chaffee School or the CT Art Trail experience overall (“The most charming element about learning these institutions is discovering the profoundly human character of curatorial scholarship—ringing with stories of friendship and connection, influence and affiliation, histories told with thoroughgoing enthusiasm…”), Pat put her all into her writing. In this she was supported by her informed art historical perspective and openness of explanation, “One delightful take-away is just how often art was, in the context of its own time, considered edgy and challenging.”

I will miss you dearly, Pat. Art New England joins your friends and family in grief.

—JETC



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