Hester Diamond, the founder of VISTAS, died on 23 January 2020, aged 91.
Hester was a pioneering art dealer who became an enterprising and wide-ranging collector. Her exceptionally discerning collection of Modern art was gradually replaced by a highly original selection of Old Master paintings and sculpture, displayed with startling contemporary furniture. Her collecting was inseparable from her ceaseless research, which led to a close association with curators and conservators, notably in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which she was a great supporter. Founder of the Medici Archive Project (which still flourishes), she deeply appreciated research and connoisseurship, encouraged both the acquisitive and the charitable instincts of her numerous friends, and tolerated the imperfect conduct of many competitive figures in the art world, some of whom were tamed by her generous nature.
Two aspects of VISTAS are especially characteristic of Hester: her shrewdness in recognizing that more and better photography was a precondition for scholarly advances in the field of sculpture, and her conviction that the book and the computer should work together. She found a contemporary solution to a long-standing need, and advanced this with boundless energy and irrepressible optimism, even in the last year of her long life. – N.P.back to top