Gudmund Vigtel, 87, pivotal director of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, died Oct. 20 of cancer at his Atlanta home. He oversaw the museum's transformation from a modest regional institution housed in a simple brick building into one of the nation's most successful art museums, and shepherded its move to an architectural statement of a building designed by Richard Meier. Mr. Vigtel remained at the High for 28 years.
Mr. Vigtel was named to the top post in 1963, a year after more than 100 Atlanta art patrons and their family members died in a plane crash. "Vig came to a demoralized city," said Michael E. Shapiro, the museum's current director, "and he leveraged what were modest resources in 1963 to create a museum that has put Atlanta on the world cultural map."