Excerpt from a recent Houston Chronicle article:
The wrecking ball is not a subtle art critic, but its opinion counts. And when it razes M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's 18-story administration tower next year, it will give a big thumbs down to Peter Hurd's 16-by-47-foot mural depicting life on a West Texas farm.
For 56 years, visitors to the building at 1100 Holcombe have been greeted by the mural's colorful array of galloping horses, mounds of produce and hard-working farm folk bursting with good health. For five years, a New Mexico gallery owned by the artist's son desperately - but unsuccessfully - has looked for someone to save the painting.
The painting is free. But the cost of removing it from the curved wall in the building's foyer, restoring it and installing it elsewhere likely would exceed $500,000.
"We are working with several universities and private individuals," said Ann Hale, director of the Hurd La Rinconada Gallery in San Patricio, N.M., "but so far there are no real solid prospects. People do want the mural. They'd be delighted to have it, but they would have to take on the responsibility of moving it. ... We have until about this August to find a new home for it."
Hale placed the mural's value at more than $3 million.
The fate of Hurd's work, which was painted in the early 1950s in the lobby of what then was the Prudential Life Insurance building, is the latest controversy facing M.D. Anderson in its quest to tear the structure down.
Local and state preservationists have protested the demolition, noting the tower, designed by Houston architect Kenneth Franzheim, was the first corporate high-rise erected outside downtown Houston.
1961 photo of the building.
GHPA mention of the building as endangered.
Some prior HAIF discussion of the building comes up in this thread and other threads - but I didn't see one devoted to the subject.
Edited by tmariar, Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 9:32 AM.