Thursday, March 01, 2012

In Memorium - Mort Lipkin - 1926 - 2012

Rebecca and Mort Wedding Day
Mort Lipkin was a very good friend of mine that served both as a valued mentor in Pre-Columbian art and a role model as a tribal art dealer. Mort and Rebecca lived in Amsterdam, London, and Phoenix raising a daughter Linda and a son Bryan. Mort was old school and definitely was glad that he started his business career when he did and did not have to deal with computers, social media, and the internet. Mort told stories of sitting on the floor with banker and Uniontown Pennslyvania collector Jay Leff with fifty pieces spread out waiting to be included in the "package" of objects. Mort and his partner Bob Stolper had fewer problems finding pieces than collectors who were remotely interested in what then was a very new field. And tall tales came from both Mort and Ray Wilegus about the town house in New York with Everett Rassiga, Bob Stolper, and others coming in and out at all hours for both the party and the art. Lipkin was unusual in that he possessed a business and accounting background which are skills alien to many tribal art dealers both then and now. Mort understood buying right and selling for less than top dollar. As a consequence, he had many loyal clients and friends. Occasionally Mort was confronted with bad guys in the guise of collectors or dealers; and he didn't do well with the dark side. In 35 years I never heard a negative word or saw any anger from Mort. It was frustrating as our roles reversed and I would try to get him to fight back, but it just wasn't his way. He remained true to his own code to the moment he had his heart attack worrying about whether he had treated  a client correctly on a business deal. Mort would worry about worrying and could not be consoled. Ironically, the particular question that tormented Mort and triggered this fatal event has proven that Mort was right all along. It would be poetic justice if some Sicilian remedies through our courts could be pursued. But again it was not Mort's way.

Mort's friends, family, and clients will miss Mort as a rare, in his own words, "mensch". The obituary is below. If you have a moment log in and and leave a note for the family. JB

Lipkin, Morton - Obituary
Morton "Mort" Lipkin, 85, of Phoenix, passed on February 15, 2012 of natural causes. Mort was born July 24, 1926 in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated from NYU and proudly served his country in World War II in the Navy. Mort is survived by his wife of 51 years Rebecca, son Brian, daughter Linda (Joe) Freedman and their son and the apple of his eye, his grandson Jacob Standford Freedman. Graveside services will be held Monday, February 20, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. at Green Acres Cemetery, 401 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85257. Arrangements by Sinai Mortuary.
Mort and his daughter Linda at her wedding
Mort and Rebecca at Linda's wedding

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