Gift Transformed the DMA’s Holdings with This Major Collection of Impressionist Paintings and European Decorative Arts
This November marks the 25th anniversary of the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art. In 1985, the Museum received more than 1,400 works from the private art collection of Emery Reves – including impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, and decorative arts objects – donated by the Wendy & Emery Reves Foundation, Inc. on behalf of Wendy’s late husband Emery. With this gift the Museum’s collections of late 19th- and early 20th-century European art and European decorative art were transformed.
To house the remarkable collection, the DMA opened a 16,500-square-foot wing in 1985 designed by the Museum’s architect, Edward Larrabee Barnes, to re-create five rooms from Villa La Pausa, the home of Wendy and Emery Reves in the south of France. The wing presents the entire Reves Collection, featuring important works by Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Gustave Courbet, Paul Gauguin, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Vincent van Gogh, among others, which has been installed as it was in the original villa. Since its opening at the DMA, the Reves Collection has been one of the most visited galleries of the Museum. This year, the Museum launched an all-new smARTphone tour of the collection highlighting more than twenty works of art and offering “behind-the-scenes” features.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary, the Museum will host on October 28, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. a special Brettell Lecture focusing on the sculptor Auguste Rodin and his monumental decorative portal The Gates of Hell. Guest lecturer Antoinette le Normand-Romain, former curator of the Musée Rodin in Paris, will discuss this masterwork as well as three important sculptures by Rodin in the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection that were the products of the creative process for The Gates of Hell.
“The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection stands as one of the great bequests in the Dallas Museum of Art’s history,” said Bonnie Pitman, The DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director. “The extraordinary gift of this remarkable collection 25 years ago significantly developed the Museum’s holdings of European art, and the contribution of European decorative arts, the area of Wendy’s particular personal interest, established the institution’s collection in that area. These works of art in this unique setting are enjoyed enormously by our visitors.”
Wendy and Emery Reves’ Mediterranean villa was originally built in 1927 by Coco Chanel, who directed the design of it with the architect Robert Streitz, and many of the furnishings in the rooms were part of Chanel’s original décor of the villa. The rooms re-created in the Museum include the library, dining room, salon, bedroom, and hall, as well as a patio built around a central courtyard. The patio and the hall were specifically designed at Chanel’s request to remind her of the Romanesque convent outside Paris where she boarded as a child.
“The presentation of the Reves Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art replicates a collector’s beloved home in Europe within an American museum setting; as Wendy Reves commented in 1985 at the Dallas opening, ‘I do feel the spirit of La Pausa here,’” said Olivier Meslay, Senior Curator of European and American Art and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art.
Among the masterpieces of the Reves Collection is Vincent van Gogh’s Sheaves of Wheat, which was the centerpiece of the Museum’s 2006 exhibition Van Gogh’s Sheaves of Wheat examining the artist's fascination with the motif and the artist’s work on paper Café Terrace at Night. This drawing was featured in two New York museum exhibitions over the past five years – Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night at the Museum of Modern Art and Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005. Also part of the collection is The Duck Pond by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which went to the National Gallery in London in 2007 for the exhibition Renoir Landscapes, 1865-1883. Camille Pissarro’s The Road to Versailles, Louveciennes: Morning Frost was requested by The Fabre Museum in Montpellier, France, in 2007 for its exhibition L’Impressionisme vu d’Amerique, which was then presented at Musée de Grenoble.
The extensive decorative arts holdings include over 300 superb pieces of Chinese export porcelain; European furniture; a rare French cabinet-on-stand attributed to Pierre Gole; a collection of rare 17th- and18th-century frames from France, Italy, Spain, England, and Germany; European fans; important carpets from Europe and Central Asia; and over 150 silver objects.
The Reves Collection also includes a gallery of paintings and memorabilia from Sir Winston Churchill and a library of rare books, testimony of Emery Reves’ enduring friendship with Churchill and his career as a publisher and journalist.
Visitors to the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection can access a DMA smARTphone tour of highlights from the collection at DallasMuseumofArt.mobi. The 21 stops include paintings, such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Lise Sewing and Édouard Manet’s Vase of White Lilacs and Roses, and works on paper, such as Edgar Degas’ The Bathers and Camille Pissarro’s Self-Portrait. Visitors can also learn more about the collection of decorative arts. Biographies and images of artists are part of the special smARTphone feature, as well as images of additional works by these artists found throughout the Museum’s galleries. Wendy Reves shares memories of life at Villa La Pausa and of collecting art. Archival photographs of the villa, visitors including Churchill and Salvador Dalí, and Chanel are also included.
About Wendy and Emery Reves
Emery Reves, Hungarian by birth, was a journalist, a publisher, and an advocate of world peace, and an avid collector of European art throughout his life. He died in 1981. Wendy Reves, from Marshall, Texas, was a gracious hostess, a collector, and a patron of the arts. Before her marriage in Switzerland, she was a successful model in New York and Paris. The couple met in 1946 and, while Swiss citizens, settled at Villa La Pausa in 1954. Wendy Reves died in 2007.
About the Dallas Museum of Art
Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. At the heart of the Museum and its programs are its encyclopedic collections, which encompass more than 24,000 works and span 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Established in 1903, the Museum today welcomes more than 600,000 visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, and dramatic and dance presentations.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.