Mary Max, whose artist husband Peter suffers from dementia, has taken her own life. Picture: John Lamparski/WireImage
Mary Max, whose artist husband Peter suffers from dementia, has taken her own life. Picture: John Lamparski/WireImage

Artist’s wife dies after legal battle

Mary Max, the wife of world-renowned psychedelic artist Peter Max, killed herself in her New York apartment over the weekend, police said on Monday.

Mary Max, 52, was discovered in her apartment on the affluent Upper West Side by a friend on Sunday evening, cops revealed.

She had been involved in an ugly legal battle with other members of the family over her dementia-afflicted, 81-year-old husband's artwork, the New York Post reports.

In a 2015 lawsuit, Mr Max's stepson Adam accused Mrs Max of attempting to kill her husband so she could take control of his multimillion-dollar art collection.

Artist Peter Max and wife Mary Max, who took her own life at her New York apartment following a bitter legal battle with his children over his work. Picture: John Lamparski/WireImage
Artist Peter Max and wife Mary Max, who took her own life at her New York apartment following a bitter legal battle with his children over his work. Picture: John Lamparski/WireImage

In response, she accused her stepson - who is just three years younger than her - of stealing $US4.3 million ($A6.2 million) worth of artwork that her husband gave her in a prenuptial agreement.

She asked a court to appoint a guardian to oversee her husband's business after Adam and three business associates took over the artist's studio.

Mr Max, who married Mary in the late 1990s, suffers from an advanced form of dementia. He grew old and frail in recent years and became seriously ill during the court cases over his fortune.

The German-American rose to fame during the pop art era of the 1960s and 1970s, and was known for his use of bright colours.

He grew extremely wealthy painting for private organisations, including the NFL, FIFA and cereal companies.

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This article originally appeared on the New York Post and is published here with permission.