Ruth Horwich was honored with the ninth Joseph R. Shapiro Award on April 23, 2013. The event recognizes the vision and connoisseurship of Chicago’s most distinguished collectors of art, with proceeds benefiting the Smart Museum of Art.
In the 1950s, Ruth and her late husband Leonard began studying and collecting art. They assembled one of the finest collections of art in Chicago, legendary for its “forest of Calders” and for its extraordinary diversity and deeply personal character. Highlighted by masterful Surrealist works, the one-of-a-kind collection also includes classic pieces by the Chicago Imagists, abstract painting and sculpture, and ethnographic and self-taught art.
In addition to collecting, Ruth has been a vital supporter of art and artists in Chicago. Lauded as “the spirit of the Hyde Park Art Center,” Ruth served as its chair for decades and together with director Don Baum produced a string of renowned exhibitions of the Hairy Who and Chicago Imagists in the 1960s and 70s. She became good friends with many Chicago artists and often hosted intimate after-opening dinners. The Horwiches also provided the seed money that made possible one of Chicago’s iconic public sculptures—Jean Dubuffet’s Monument with Standing Beast, which was unveiled outside of the State of Illinois Building in 1984.
For more than half a century, Ruth has left an indelible mark on the city’s cultural institutions. She was a founding member and is currently a life trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, served on the twentieth century painting and sculpture acquisitions committee at the Art Institute of Chicago, and remains the honorary chair of the Hyde Park Art Center’s board of directors. In addition, Ruth has been involved in supporting numerous institutions at the University of Chicago including the Renaissance Society, Court Theatre, and the Smart Museum of Art.