The Spirit of Modernism pays tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of businessman and art collector John R. Eckel, Jr. The friendship between Eckel and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, lasted only five years before his untimely death in 2009. His art collection, now known as the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gift, lives on at the MFAH as an enduring legacy comprising 73 works of Modernist American painting and sculpture, photography, and contemporary arts and design.
The John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gift strengthens the MFAH collections across several curatorial departments and sheds light on Eckel’s vision as an astute collector and generous benefactor. Among the major works on view in this show are Ralston Crawford's buoyant painting Red Barge No. 1; Shiro Kuramata's steel, mesh, and chrome chair How High the Moon; and Harry Bertoia’s gilded bronze sculpture Untitled (Multi-Plane Construction), measuring over 10 feet high.
Accompanying the exhibition is a book, available at MFAH Shop, featuring essays and highlights of the works. Additionally, the MFAH Archives has acquired the Edward J Wormley Collection, a gift of the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation.