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Houston oilman, venture capitalist, and art collector Robert H. Chaney died Wednesday. The Chaney family’s art collection vigorously courted by the MFAH, was the subject of two recent exhibitions: Red Hot: Asian Art Today From the Chaney Family Collection and End Game: British Contemporary Art From the Chaney Family Collection. Funeral services are scheduled for 3 p.m. Oct. 27 under the direction of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.

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6 Responses

  1. Untitled

    He was an incredibly intelligent man, and one who cared deeply about his family. His loss will be felt strongly throughout several art communities, but contemporary Asian art will not be the same without Robert. He was a great guy, wonderful to work with, and never collected a thing without the approval of his daughter and wife. He will be missed. -EJG

  2. Trungpa Ricochet

    I read about this man’s suicide. It’s very sad. It may really be pointless to wonder about why he did what he did, but maybe we can learn something by knowing more about his motives. The most obvious motive is great financial loss. I wonder how much of his outward success was supported by debt, and I wonder if the current “meltdown” caught him without the resources to maintain his lifestyle. It may be that when his estate is settled there will be nothing left. I’m going to wager that the reason he was hyping his collection through the MFAH was so he could inflate its value like so many junk bonds and then dump it for a killing later on. Meanwhile his other assets plummeted, and his liabilities were so large and due so soon that he didn’t have time to sell his art collection. He was a gambler, and this time he threw snake eyes, like so many others in Bush’s American Casino.

    I can’t help but recall Oliver Stone’s movie, Wall Street. The art shown in the film was placed carefully to illustrate the essential emptiness of the new-found wealth of the brokers. It represented a kind of ill-gotten gain, conspicuous consumption, trophies of status. Where are those artists now? I always thought that Stone played a mean trick on the artists and dealers at the time, convincing them that placing works in the film would be a coup. Really it was an insult to be included in the value scheme of people like Gordon Gecko.

    Was Chaney Gordon Gecko?

    Maybe I’m wrong.

  3. Pat

    Those of us close to Robert will sorely miss him. As always, there is so much more to everyone’s story (sickness, etc.).

  4. Andy Feehan

    None of will ever know what Robert Chaney was thinking and feeling the instant he ended his life. Perhaps he would have been dissuaded had a friend been given any warning of his intentions and intervened. It is possible he lost his fortune. It is equally possible he was ill. He is gone now.

    Let us hope that this man had friends who will support his family in its grief. No matter what motives may come to light in the future, Robert Chaney’s suicide has surely left everyone asking, “Why?” Whatever those motives may have been, his family will never really have an answer. That is the hardest part.

    My thoughts go out to the Chaney family.

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