Diane Root: In Memoriam

Diane Root
Diane Root
photograph by Vernita Nemec

Diane Root was the epitome of a cosmopolitan woman. Born in Paris of an American father and a French mother from Nice. She was schooled in the United States, Holland, Switzerland and France. She traveled the world, spoke multiple languages, and for a time worked for the diplomatic service which probably accounted for her very open and accepting nature of all people and cultures. Her close friend Knut Svenningsen said “People fascinated her. She could start a conversation with anyone.” She was truly interested in the other person.

That curiosity and keen mind is what made Diane an accomplished writer although it took her a while to allow herself to acknowledge that. She adored her father, Waverley Lewis Root, who was a news correspondent for several newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post as well as a renowned author of books about food. She thought writing was “his thing.” However, she eventually became an editor, working for several publishing houses as well as writing copy for several fashion and perfume companies.

She was a good writer, but she was an even greater storyteller. She scooped you up into her stories right from the beginning and took you on a fun adventure. She never disappointed. She wrote a wonderful piece about having lunch with Picasso when she was a child; “The Artful Dodger” appeared in the New York Times magazine in 2008. She also wrote science fiction short stories for Boned – “A collection of skeletal writings” edited by Nate Ragolia who said of Diane, “Even when she’d protest that horror or sci- fi or genre writing wasn’t her forte, she’d dazzle with a dark, thoughtful, complex story.”

She enjoyed writing about artists and their art. She understood artists, being one herself. She considered herself an artist before a writer, working in a variety of painting styles, all of which were expressive of her vibrant personality.

blue and red and green abstract painting
“A Tune for Three Tulips” (Photo courtesy of Viridian Gallery)

Kathryn Hart reminisced that “Diane” about other’s art and the assortment of people she knew and gathered around her. Our conversations together were lively, full of stories (she had some tales to tell of the NYC artists of years past–it seemed she knew everyone), discussions about art and probably more than our fair share of wine. I would walk home from her apartment in the Village in the wee hours inspired by her energy, her generosity, and her continual artistic push.

Her work in process was everywhere in her apartment. Diane was a true supporter of artists, had such a huge heart and a golden pen. I will miss my good friend so much. She enriched my life and that of so many others.

”Jeannie McCormack said, “I am grateful to have known Diane and for her special presence in the magazine. She helped us produce the first issue of the new G&S Arts Journal through her generous support, her writing and by giving us good ideas for new projects. We will miss her for her spirit, her unique and perceptive
art writing and the lively stories she told. God Bless.”

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