J. Frederic "Fritz" Lohman '44

J. Frederic "Fritz" Lohman '44, on January 11, 2010. The New York City resident was eighty-seven.

Fritz was an art and history major and was active in the drama program. After Kenyon, he attended Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

He worked as a set designer for Paramount Pictures in California and, in the early days of television, for the Dumont Corporation. He moved to New York City after several years and became the associate director of the Bertha Schaefer Art Gallery. Fritz established his own interior design firm, J. Frederic Lohman, Ltd., in 1951. His list of prominent clients included Barbara Walters and French fashion designer Jacques Fath. His celebrated interior-design work was often featured in magazines and can be found across the United States, as well as in Europe, Jamaica, and Nigeria. Fritz designed several of the "Ten Best Dressed Rooms" at the National Design Center. He also created the interiors of four model houses in the Reston, Virginia, "Model Community of the Future."

In a 1963 interview with the Salt Lake City Tribune, he said, "Interior designing takes care of my creative urges." He added that an interior designer needs the skills of a diplomat and a psychologist when it comes to satisfying clients. "We have to please ourselves as well as the client, and they often want the impossible."

Fritz and his partner, Charles Leslie, were pioneers in the remaking of the New York SoHo district. They formed a real-estate holding company in 1969 to acquire and restore neglected industrial buildings and convert them into artists' housing. They successfully fought for zoning changes to help transform SoHo and helped win landmark status for the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District.

In the 1970s, Fritz and Leslie produced several acclaimed Broadway and off-Broadway shows, including The Petrified Forest, Duel in the Sun, and the first performance of the Tennessee Williams drama Purification.

Fritz officially retired in 1984 but continued design work for selected friends and clients. During this time he restored key rooms in the Vanderbilt Mansion on Long Island, now used by Dowling College.

Fritz and Leslie were active in the gay-rights movement and founded the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation in 1990. The foundation's gallery is in SoHo, and its permanent collection includes works by Andy Warhol, Jean Cocteau, and Robert Mapplethorpe. The foundation holds one of the most important archives of gay visual arts in the United States.

The couple traveled the world and kept homes in Maryland, Morocco, and New York.

Fritz was survived by his partner. Memorial contributions to the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation will be used to establish the Leslie/Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Donations may be sent to LLGAF, Attention: Fritz Lohman Museum Fund, 26 Wooster St., New York, New York 10013.