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May 17 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmFree
discussing the subject of his new book
Double Vision: The Unerring Eye of Art World Avatars Dominique and John de Menil
published by Alfred Knopf
City Lights celebrates the first and definitive biography of the celebrated collectors Dominique and John de Menil, who 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.
Now, with unprecedented access to family archives, William Middleton has written a sweeping biography of this unique couple. From their ancestors in Normandy and Alsace, to their own early years in France, and their travels in South America before settling in Houston. We see them introduced to the artists in Europe and America whose works they would collect, and we see how, by the 1960s, their collection had grown to include 17,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, rare books, and decorative objects.
And here 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.
William Middleton is a journalist and editor who has worked in New York and Paris. He has been the Fashion Features Director for Harper’s Bazaar and the Paris Bureau Chief for Fairchild Publications, overseeing W Magazine and Women’s Wear Daily. He has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, House & Garden, Esquire, Texas Monthly, Travel & Leisure, Departures, and the International Herald Tribune.
“Middleton spares no details in this history of the French couple who made Houston their home and converted it to a center of the arts… A well-written, highly informative book for devotees of the modern art world.”
“An authoritative account of the lives and patronage of 20th-century art-world power-couple Dominique and John de Menil…As Middleton dutifully shows, the couple’s commitment to art and philanthropy defined their lives…. This exhaustively researched, satisfying slab of a book offers a thorough look into the lives and influence of an extraordinary couple.”
In “Double Vision,” William Middleston gives visionary art collectors Dominique and John de Menil the joint biography they richly deserve–a sweeping, superbly researched, behind-the-scenes account of a family deeply involved in the story of 20th-century American art.”
—Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, authors of de Kooning: An American Master