• Events

William Middleton's talk about John & Dominique de Menil

Double Vision: The Unerring Eye of Art World Avatars Dominique and John de Menil by William Middleton, Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 27, 2018

With unprecedented access to family archives, William Middleton has written a sweeping biography of collectors Dominique and John de Menil. This unique couple became one of the greatest cultural forces of the twentieth century through groundbreaking exhibits of art, artistic scholarship, the creation of innovative galleries and museums, and work with civil rights. Dominique and John de Menil created an oasis of culture in their Philip Johnson-designed house with everyone from Marlene Dietrich and René Magritte to Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. In Houston, they built the Menil Collection, the Rothko Chapel, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel, the Cy Twombly Gallery, and underwrote the Contemporary Arts Museum.

At FIAF and based on his book, William Middleton will introduce us to their ancestors in Normandy and Alsace, and to their own early years in France, and their travels in South America before settling in Houston. We will follow them introduced to the artists in Europe and America whose works they would collect, and we will see how, by the 1960s, their collection had grown to include 17,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, rare books, and decorative objects. William Middleton's book is, as well, a vivid behind-the-scenes look at the art world of the twentieth century and the enormous influence the de Menils wielded through what they collected and built and through the causes they believed in.