Sunday, November 02, 2008

Requiescat in pace, Alfred C. Glassell, Jr, 1913 - 2008; was oilman, art patron, wildlife advocate

The founder of Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp was a Byrd HS and LSU grad who was raised outside of Belcher at Cuba Plantation. According to the Alfred C. Glassell, Jr, obituary in the Times, the energy industry pioneer, based in Houston after participating in WWII, was a patron in numerous fields: marine biology, Texas wildlife and the cultural landscape of Houston.

To make an extensive quote from the Times obit:

He dedicated his time and resources to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Symphony Society, Society for Performing Arts, Houston Ballet Foundation, Houston Chamber of Commerce, Texas Children's Hospital, American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Smithsonian Institution, and Archaeological Institute of America.

He fulfilled a great role as a leader at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. This world famous collector of art was first elected to the museum's Board of Trustees in 1970. Realizing people's fundamental need for hands on experience in the arts and recognizing the lack of studio opportunities, he established the Glassell School of Art. Since its dedication in 1979, the Glassell School has provided diverse training in the fine arts to children, adults, emerging artists, hospital patients, and older Americans.

He was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 1990, a time when the need for physical expansion was evident. With characteristic optimism and belief in the generosity of Houston, he led a ten-year effort that resulted in the Audrey Jones Beck Building as home for the museum's collection of Western Antiquities, European, and American art.

As a life-long collector of Asian, Pre-Columbian, and African art, he donated his excellent and extensive collections to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. These works, primarily of precious gold, are without parallel. Frances Marzio, his curator, described him as "a great connoisseur who recognized the creative genius of diverse cultures before they were appreciated by many others."

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