PaperCity Magazine

June 2015 - Houston

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BY ANNE LEE PHILLIPS. PHOTOGRAPHY JENNY ANTILL CLIFTON. COCKTAILS AT THE Menil House It all began with a house. In 1948, seven years after relocating to Houston from France for their family firm Schlumberger, burgeoning art collectors Dominique and John de Menil enlisted famed architect Philip Johnson to design a private home (his first residential commission) for them in River Oaks. They tapped another unusual source, eccentric couturier Charles James, as their interior decorator; he created brightly colored and plush interiors in contrast to the stark brick, glass and steel single-story exterior. A house that once infuriated traditional neighbors is now considered a Modernist masterpiece. The couple's extensive art collection soon outgrew their home. More than a decade after her husband's death, Dominique established The Menil Collection as a gift to her adopted city in 1987 (admission to the museum is always free to all). After Dominique's death in 1997, the Menil House was bequeathed to The Menil Foundation, and its careful restoration by Stern and Bucek Architects was completed in 2004. Invitations to visit the house are extended to special guests for unique occasions, and the Menil Society's Spring Cocktails at the Menil House is one such occasion. The agenda for the evening included walks through the gardens, libations in the Charles- James-designed living room and a peek at the Wunderkammer tucked- away closet bar, which serves as an art installation for petite works by Andy Warhol and Victor Brauner. Bill Cannady looked cheerful beside an orange-and-yellow Mark Rothko painting similar to the one recently sold at Sotheby's for $36.5 million from Bunny Mellon's estate. The Menil's Amanda Shagrin, patrons Olive Hershey and Jo Furr (there with husband Jim) looked stunning in Yves Klein-blue dresses — apropos, since the foyer, designed to be large enough for dinner parties, once featured a floor-to-ceiling blue-and- white Yves Klein canvas. Mid-century mavens: Gail and Louis Adler, Jerry Jeanmard, Cliff Helmcamp, Janet Hobby, Paula Daly, Kristen Johnston, Judy Nyquist, and Caroline and Jared LeBlanc. THE HOUSE THAT LAUNCHED THE COLLECTION JUNE | PAGE 14 | 2015 Bill Cannady Bill Caudill Jared LeBlanc Caroline LeBlanc Kelly Hamman Janet Hobby Blakely Griggs Trey Griggs, Amanda Shagrin, Blakely Griggs Trey Griggs Jo Furr Jim Furr Jimmy Robertson Carolyn Robertson A.C. Conrad, Olive Hershey Gail Adler Ismet Dzidic Paula Daly, Kristen Johnson Steve & Liz Crowell Frazier King Louis Adler Reggie Smith Leigh Smith Frank & Dorene Herzog Barry & Elizabeth Young Mariana Servitje Detail of the bar tucked away in a closet, with petite artworks, arranged by Dominique. Birds that flew into the glass windows were taxidermied and now inspect mini artworks in the closet bar.

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