The late Jesús Moroles’ mammoth granite sculpture Lighthouse Fountain has been removed from the Rockport Center for the Arts’ Sculpture Garden, and will remain in storage until it is reinstalled on the grounds of the RCA’s downtown campus.
Lighthouse Fountain was commissioned in 2002, and a condition report had never been procured since its installation.
In August 2017, after Hurricane Harvey, RCA staff performed a condition report of every piece of art in the Sculpture Garden collection. It was repeated in early September of 2017 with an insurance adjuster.
Structural engineers retained by the RCA fine arts insurance company identified problems with the internal armature of the 21-foot-tall red granite monument last fall. The RCA hired Moroles Art Co. earlier in 2018 to provide a condition report on the monument.
The RCA staff and Moroles Art Co. were aware of the detailed installation plan used in 2002.
One of the immediate concerns for staff and insurance adjusters was assessing the condition of the sculpture’s interior.
“Because Jesús is deceased, and because we had no access to his installation annotations, we immediately turned to Moroles Art Co.,” said RCA Executive Director Luis Purón. “We asked them to conduct a thorough inspection.”
Suzanna Moroles and Kurt Kangas, the principals of Moroles Art Co., were engaged in the original installation of Lighthouse Fountain, and worked with Jesús on all of his major monument installations.
They handled a variety of conservation efforts for the RCA, most notably restoration work on Spirit Columns, another Moroles’ monument located on the banks of Little Bay.
A more thorough inspection required entering the inner vessel and taking pictures. It was discovered the steel armature had suffered significant deterioration due to age and extreme weather conditions.
It was the recommendation of Moroles Art Co. to take down Lighthouse Fountain in order to preserve the work.
The other finding was the steel armature would continue to degrade over time and was no longer effective in providing the support required.
The insurance company and structural engineers rendered the same finding.
A new steel armature will be built prior to Lighthouse Fountain’s reinstallation on the grounds of the RCA’s future downtown campus.
S. Moroles said, “Lighthouse Fountain is a very important work in Moroles’ career and we are honored to work with the RCA to preserve the work. This is what Jesús would have wanted.
“The RCA staff and board have worked diligently to make certain this work, in the permanent collection, is preserved. Without these efforts, we feel the sculpture may have been lost at some point.”
A larger Sculpture Garden at the RCA’s downtown campus, that will house all of the works in the collection, has been conceptualized for the new facility.
About Lighthouse Fountain
In Lighthouse Fountain, Moroles immortalized the spirit of comforting strength, powerful gentleness, and graceful beauty, which make the Live Oak Peninsula distinctive. The representative work of Moroles’ signature red granite from Fredericksburg stands 21-feet tall and symbolizes a lighthouse as water quietly slips down its grooved sides. The commission of this piece was made possible by a major contribution from Frances Brockett of Louisiana and a grant from The Brown Foundation of Houston. Members of the Rockport community made valuable contributions to make this sculpture a reality for the RCA’s permanent collection. The RCA has three additional Moroles works in its collection: Interlocking (1991); Spirit Columns (1998); and Texas Stele Fountain. The latter was a gift from the Rockport Country Club and is out for conservation due to damages caused by Hurricane Harvey.
About Moroles Art Co.
Formed in 2017, Moroles Art Co. was founded by Kurt Kangas and Suzanna Moroles. Kangas is J. Moroles’ brother-in-law and S. Moroles is his sister. Both worked alongside Moroles throughout his successful career as a sculptor, which garnered him international renown. Moroles Art Co.’s mission is to help preserve existing Moroles work and to create Moroles inspired work to perpetuate his love and passion for sculpting in granite, which is slowly becoming a lost art. For more information visit http://www.morolesartco.com/.