Dominique de Menil, 89, a connoisseur, art collector and...


January 02, 1998

Dominique de Menil, 89, a connoisseur, art collector and creator with her husband, Jean, of the Menil Foundation in Houston, died Wednesday at her home in Houston.

Mrs. de Menil and her husband, whose fortune came from oil-well technology, became widely known for having commissioned for Houston the nearby nondenominational Rothko Chapel, designed by Philip Johnson and dedicated in 1971.

With its somber, meditational paintings by Mark Rothko and its adjacent sculpture, "Broken Obelisk" by Barnett Newman, it soon became a place of ecumenical pilgrimage.

As collectors, the de Menils cut a wide swath -- from Etruscan art to Cycladic sculptures, Byzantine bronzes and African tribal art.

Public awareness of the size and quality of what they had bought was heightened when the Menil Collection museum opened in Houston in 1987.

With no admission charge, membership or museum shop, it included a wide range of materials, from antiquity to the Parisian and American avant-garde of recent times.

Pub Date: 1/02/98

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