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Columbia University (Ivy League), 116th St and Broadway, New York, NY 10027
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John Douglas Hohnsbeen (August 2, 1926 - August 20, 2007) was an integral part of the art world in the 1950s, especially at the salons held by dealer Kirk Askew and his wife Constance. Hohnsbeen himself dabbled at dealing art, at the Curt Valentin Gallery, the Bucholz Gallery and the Peridot Gallery, all specialists in modern art, but he is remembered more for his social life and connections than for his work life, and, indeed, confessed to hating to work. In 1950, he and the eminent modernist architect Philip Johnson met at the Buchholz Gallery and were lovers for a decade; they stayed friends through Johnson's life.

John Douglas Hohnsbeen was born in Oklahoma (he claimed to be part Native American) and attended Columbia University, where the was friends with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, and studied with Martha Graham in New York. In his early twenties he met Philip Johnson. Johnson, whom Hohnsbeen found "terrifically handsome,"' confirmed the force of their initial attraction, not to mention the eventual importance of Hohnsbeen in his life. Within a few weeks of their first night together, the two of them met with Jon Stroup for dinner, after which Philip advised Stroup that their liaison, by then five years old, was over. The scene, according to Hohnsbeen, was "terrible," but "Philip and I loved each other," and there was no turning away from that. Hohnsbeen added that he canceled a relationship he had at the time with the writer Christopher Isherwood. He promptly moved in with Johnson at Hidden House.

Johnson's biographer describes Hohnsbeen as "blue eyed, fair and well put together with the bearing and the manner of a colt." After Valentin fired Hohnsbeen, he became a partner in the Peridot Gallery. Johnson helped with finances but Hohnsbeen admitted to having been a bit half-hearted about this venture, too, as he loved chatting people up more than selling. In 1955, Hohnsbeen and Johnson moved to an all-white apartment on East 55th Street - where the only note of colour was Hohnsbeen's ice blue robe - only for him to be diagnosed, like Bobby Bishop the year before, with TB. Johnson looked after him until Johnson fell for David Whitney.

Hohnsbeen spent much of his life in Europe, in Paris, Rome, Positano, and most famously, at Palazzo Guggenheim in Venice in the later years of Peggy Guggenheim's life, attempting to maintain and curate her art collection. While in Venice, one of his closest friends was Arthur Jeffress. He was also a frequent visitor to New Orleans where he had a surrogate family. In recent years he lived in Fort Lauderdale, and leaves, in both cities (and many more across the U.S. and Europe) a wide circle of friends. He loved art, music, luxury and acquaintances with titles, power and/or money, but he also remained singularly loyal to his oldest friends, many of whom were not rich, titled, or powerful, through his entire life. His life was, in some ways, distinctly charmed and he was often charming, although his penchant for trouble-making was widely known and deeply respected: a butterfly with a sting. He was greatly loved and his opinionated, educated voice will be sorely missed.

Hohnsbeen died peacefully in his sleep in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he was summering, on August 20, 2007, after a long struggle with emphysema. He leaves no immediate relatives but a host of friends, former lovers, and acquaintances in the worlds of art and high society, both of which he was active in for many years.

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