Family of famed pop artist Peter Max, 84, say he’s being abused by court-appointed guardian
The family of artist Peter Max, suffering from dementia, has accused his court-appointed guardian of assault, alleging that she forced him into ‘involuntary isolation’.
German-born Max, 84, became an icon in the global art world in the 1960s. He now resides in New York City and has been in the care of court-appointed guardian Barbara Lissner for the past three years.
Now Peter’s 55-year-old daughter Libra is fighting to break custody. She claims that Lissner stole or wasted $16 million of his fortune, and that she is keeping him away from friends and family. It is not exactly clear what exactly Max’s ability is.
In 2019, Max’s second wife Mary committed suicide while claiming she was exploiting his dementia for financial gain.
After her suicide, New York appointed Lissner as guardian of Max. In the years since, she says that Lissner has locked up her father for everyone who loves him.
Artist Peter Max, 84, is featured in a recent video posted online by his daughter Libra, who says he is imprisoned in abusive custody. Max has Alzheimer’s and his daughter says he’s being held in ‘involuntary isolation’
Peter Max shown in 2012 before his Alzheimer’s started. He is a well-known figure in the art world and best known for his bright, colorful work
Court-appointed guardian Barbara Lissner. She was tasked with handling Peter Max’s affairs after his wife died in 2019
She has shared videos where he explicitly tells her that Lissner has no control over who he is and is not allowed to see.
In her most recent lawsuit on Tuesday, Libra said Lissner is deliberately withholding information about her father’s health.
“My father should never have come under guardianship in the first place, and he shouldn’t be in it now.
†[He] has a loving daughter, me, and he begged me to come and take care of him, just as my father did for his own father.
“It’s our family culture to take care of our own,” she said Rolling stone.
On a website campaigning to end custody, Peter’s family said: “After three years of isolation, Peter’s loved ones fear he will lose his will to live.
Peter was cared for by his wife Mary (pictured together in 2018) until she committed suicide in 2018 amid allegations that she abused him and attempted to kill him
Peter’s 55-year-old daughter Libra (pictured together) is now campaigning to end his custody battle, saying she and her brother Adam are the only people who should be in charge of his affairs
‘His health has deteriorated greatly; he seems dangerously over-medication and his family and friends fear for his life.’
‘Peter is gentle, loving and a very sensitive man. Anyone close to him knows that he thrives with companionship and suffers without.’
The family claims that his phone has been confiscated to prevent him from arranging his own visits, and that Max’s adult children must make written requests when they want to see him.
They also say the guardian has “exhausted” her father’s fortune “with millions paid without his consent to the court-appointed guardians and lawyers who now control all aspects of his life.”
A letter asking the court to revoke custody has received more than 100 signatures on the family’s website. They allege abuse of custody.
Peter Max with Britney Spears in a photo on the artist’s Instagram page
Peter Max with family friend Michael Lang, one of more than 100 people campaigning for an end to child custody
Lissner did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment on Wednesday.
Peter’s wife Mary was in charge of his affairs until her suicide in 2019. She had also been accused of abusing him by his domestic workers and children.
Peter’s health problems started in 2012 when his ability to create art began to decline.
He and Mary had been married at the time since 1997. Libra and her brother Adam are the children of Peter from his first marriage. He and Mary had no children together.
According to The New York Times, Mary — who was 30 years younger than her husband — was accused by the children of trying to kill Peter around the time of her death.
Both Adam and Libra owned large shares of their father’s studio, the paper reported.