In a five-year buying spree, energy tycoon John R. Eckel Jr. built an enviable collection of Modernist furniture and paintings that has been recently bequeathed to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In recognition, the Museum of Fine Arts has staged the exhibit “The Spirit of Modernism: The John R. Eckel Jr. Foundation Gift to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.” (The foundation is giving about two dozen artworks to the Whitney, including Los Angeles photos by Ed Ruscha, and Bertoia bundles of copper strands.)
Eckel focused on unique pieces a few American artists such as Harry Bertoia above. The works are now valued four or five times higher than the prices Eckel paid for them, which is adding vast sums of knowledge to the valuation history of Modernism, which is still a relatively young field of scholarship. Eckel himself bought what he liked without input from others and thus in his own way, helped pioneer the field.
Source: The New York Times