Ruth and her husband Leonard were among the founders of the MCA in 1967, and she holds a special place in the history of the museum, where she was a Trustee since 1984. Ruth’s laughter, wit, and stories about the MCA and especially its early years when she hosted infamous dinners for artists in honor of their exhibition opening will be missed deeply.
The Horwiches began acquiring art more than 50 years ago, filling their home with an eclectic mix of folk, naïve, and outsider art alongside many works by the Chicago Imagists and surrealists as well as Alexander Calder, an artist she and her husband collected in depth. In the 1980s, Ruth created the Leonard and Ruth Horwich Family Loan, a significant loan of 15 Calders from their collection that formed the foundation of the MCA’s 2010 exhibition, Alexander Calder: Form, Balance, Joy. These works, currently on view at the museum, have become favorites of visitors. Her legacy, however, extends far beyond this loan and her many donations to the MCA's collection. Ruth was supportive of the museum in many ways, frequently attending our events; serving on the Performance, Collection, and Exhibition Committees; and advertising the museum store by wearing her beloved necklaces so beautifully.
In addition to her role at the MCA, Ruth was an active patron of Chicago’s cultural life. She was a benefactor of the Hyde Park Art Center for more than 45 years and a board member of the Poetry Foundation. In 1984, Ruth and her family donated Jean Dubuffet’s sculpture Monument with Standing Beast in memory of her husband Leonard to Chicago, where it sits in front of the State of Illinois Building today.
She passed away in July 2014.