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Was Robin Williams' Art Collection a Window on His Troubled Mind?

An October 4th auction at Sotheby's will feature 309 items from the collection of the late Robin Williams and his second wife Marsha. It will include several prized works of art, including three paintings by Swiss artist Adolf Wölfli, who was noted for being certifiably insane.

...a doctor at Waldau published a monograph on his patient in 1921 titled “A Mentally Ill Artist,” and even made the link between Wölfli’s “illness” and his creativity explicit by observing that “the effect of illness which dissociated and ravaged the superficial layers of his psyche, enabling the deeper layers, including his latent artistry, to develop.”

The same sort of thing is often said about all sorts of creative people—that their demons, if not their named “illnesses,” are also their sources of brilliance. When it comes to Robin Williams, it is hardly controversial to remark upon the unbridled, over-the-edge nature of his comedy. Indeed, many of us believed him to be at his best when he was on the verge of being out of control.

Read some musings on Robin Williams and his possible connection with Adolf Wölfli at Collectors Weekly. You'll also see the other two Wölfli artworks from the auction. 


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