John McWhinnie, Rare Book and Art Dealer, Died on Friday in the British Virgin Islands
John McWhinnie, a Lewiston native and renowned rare book and art dealer, passed away while on vacation in the British Virgin Islands at 43 years old, according to his sister Lisa Paradis.
McWhinnie, a Fulbright scholar pursuing a doctorate in philosophy, worked for East Hampton-based Glenn Horowitz until 2005 when he opened his own stores as part of an entrepreneurial partnership. Throughout this time he supported artists such as Cindy Sherman, Matthew Satz and Richard Prince through exhibitions at his stores.
Early Life and Education
John McWhinnie was born in Lewiston, Maine and went on to become an acclaimed New York dealer, collector, and curator of art and rare books.
His tragic death Friday while snorkeling off the British Virgin Islands shocked his family and friends, as well as leaving a lasting impact on the art community. He had been on vacation with his wife Maria Beaulieu.
His wife, originally from Houlton, had been with him for 24 years. They met while working at Northeast Bank’s check-processing center on Lisbon Street, according to Paradis.
McWhinnie was a rare book and art dealer based in East Hampton and Manhattan. Additionally, he was an expert scholar and collector of 20th century books, letters, ephemera.
Fulbright scholar with a doctorate in philosophy, Levine met Glenn Horowitz – an established rare-book dealer – at a book fair and eventually joined him to manage his flagship East Hampton business before founding a gallery bookstore on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with Levine that specialized in modern and contemporary artists’ books, projects and exhibitions.
He was also a freelance curator, publishing artist books and exhibition catalogues under JMc & GHB Editions. Additionally, he curated shows such as “Author! Author!” and “When What to My Wondering Eyes,” designed album covers for artists who rarely do album covers, and donated his Christmas collection of artworks to local libraries.
Achievements and Honors
John McWhinnie, a Lewiston native who went on to become an acclaimed New York dealer and collector of art and rare books, tragically passed away while snorkeling in the British Virgin Islands while on vacation with his wife Maria Beaulieu. According to Lisa Paradis’ sister Lisa Paradis, John and Maria were hit by a riptide while snorkeling together.
He was an accomplished artist whose works can be found in numerous museum collections around the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Additionally, he wrote books, produced music and directed stage plays; however his most remarkable accomplishment was winning a National Medal of Art from Smithsonian Institution for a single drawing. Additionally he received DePaul University’s Via Sapientiae award for sciences including her record-breaking Antarctic research trip which put her on National Science Foundation radar in 1962.
John McWhinnie was a Lewiston native who rose to become an acclaimed New York dealer, collector and curator of art and rare books. Tragically, on Friday while vacationing in the British Virgin Islands he died tragically from a snorkeling accident, leaving behind his family and a bereaved art community.
His most significant project was JMc & GHB Editions, an imprint which published artists’ books by Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman and Matthew Barney.
McWhinnie, a Fulbright scholar pursuing her doctorate in philosophy, met Glenn Horowitz – an established rare-book dealer – at a book fair and began working for him as manager of his East Hampton store. Five years later they opened their own stores together that specialized in avant-garde art, literature and photography.
John McWhinnie’s net worth is estimated at $1 million. As a rare book and art dealer, he has collaborated with artists such as Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman and Holton Rower. In 2005 he opened his Upper East Side gallery bookstore called JMc & GHB Editions which produces artist books and exhibition catalogues. His office at 64th Street on Manhattan features an office filled with books, ephemera and memorabilia in its faux bookcase display.
He is married to Maria Beaulieu, a rare book and art dealer. Together they were saved from the ocean after being caught in a riptide last January in the British Virgin Islands and are survived by their children.