Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

August 30, 2005

Andronico Luksic, 78, a Chilean billionaire who built one of Latin America's biggest business empires, died Aug. 18 in Chile. His death was reported by Antofagasta PLC, the company where he served as chairman until retiring last year.

Mr. Luksic once controlled a sprawling collection of mining, banking, telecommunications, manufacturing and beer companies. Most of the companies were in South America, but he also owned beach resorts in Croatia, the country his father emigrated from in the early 1900s.

Mr. Luksic claimed his fortune was born from a misunderstanding. As a young man, he sold his stake in a copper mine to Japanese investors who thought he was quoting them a price in dollars when in fact the amount he had proposed was in pesos. Mr. Luksic was too embarrassed to point out the discrepancy.

"I thought for sure they would figure it out," he said in a 2002 interview with El Mercurio, the Chilean newspaper. But they did not, and the mistake meant that Mr. Luksic was paid $500,000, more than 10 times the money he had asked for.

Born Andronico Luksic Abaroa, he grew up in Antofagasta, then a dusty desert town in northern Chile where his father owned a general store. His parents were affluent enough to send him to the Sorbonne in Paris. But Mr. Luksic's stint at the famed university was short-lived. On the first day of classes, his professor asked him to stand up and give a brief, impromptu speech about his native Chile. The young man was so unbearably shy that he fled the room and never returned.

Back in Chile, Mr. Luksic studied law to please his parents. But his discomfort in publicly arguing court cases led him to renounce law as a career. Through a relative, he acquired a Ford dealership in Antofagasta, which was becoming a boomtown because of copper mining in the surrounding Atacama Desert.

An amateur geologist who enjoyed long, lonely walks to collect ore samples, Mr. Luksic later bought a controlling share of a small copper mine whose owners were feuding. It was this mine that he sold in 1954 to the Nippon Mining Co. for the windfall.

"I burned 20 packages of votary candles to my three favorite saints - Pancras, Judas and Anthony," Mr. Luksic said. "Then I deposited the $500,000 in a bank as collateral to finance new businesses."

Donald Posner, 73, a leading scholar of Baroque art and 17th- and 18th-century painting in Italy and France, died of esophageal cancer Aug. 13 in a New York hospital.

At his death, Dr. Posner was Ailsa Mellon Bruce professor of fine arts at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, where he had served on the faculty since obtaining his doctorate there in 1962. He was deputy director of the institute from 1983 to 2002.

His doctoral dissertation, on the 16th-century Italian painter Annibale Carracci and his workshop in Rome, was later expanded into a landmark book, Annibale Carracci: A Study in the Reform of Italian Painting Around 1590, published in 1971.

His book on the 18th-century French painter Antoine Watteau, published in 1984, is also regarded as a classic in the field. His 1971 article for Art Quarterly, "Caravaggio's Homo-Erotic Early Works," is considered an authoritative text.

A formalist who spurned postmodern concepts such as deconstructionism, Dr. Posner preferred to trust what he saw, even if it might seem to contradict a textual document, said Mariet Westermann, director of the institute in a letter notifying colleagues of his death.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.