Menil Collection Houston Reviews
No menial task Jul 25, 2015
There is a wealth of opportunity to experience beauty in Houston’s Museum District. The Menil Collection might just be the finest example, and admission is free!
The museum displays the personal art collection of John and Dominique Menil, a husband and wife destined to become leading philanthropists in Houston. Originally from France, the couple abandoned ship on the eve of WWII. Dominique’s maiden name was Schlumberger, as in the gigantic oil services company, so Houston was a logical refuge.
Opened in 1987, the installation displays pieces amassed by the Menil’s over four decades of collecting. I adore Dominique’s philosophy of rotating selections to stay fresh and avoid what she called “museum fatigue.” With 30,000 square feet of floor space, the museum is perfect size. Sufficient exhibits to warrant a visit without being overwhelming (like the Uffizi, for example), so plan on spending a couple delightful hours here.
What was out on display during my visit spanned a significant chunk of the art world. The museum’s strength lies in movements between 1940-60 (e.g., surrealism) when the Menils were active. Not only are Picasso, Warhol, Magritte and Chirico well represented, all were personal friends of John and Dominique! But offerings circle the globe, with separate galleries for African, Pacific Island and Inuit art. The breadth moves along the dimension of time as well, other galleries presenting Ancient Egypt, Grecian, Byzantine and Medieval works.
Perhaps the only negative is a total ban on photography indoors. But I am hopeful my little write-up entices you without any need for pictorial documentation. It truly is a splendid destination, rich in beauty, just the right size, and did I mention it is FREE?!?!
The collection is open to the public between 11AM and 7PM, every Wednesday through Sunday.
Part of the Killing Time in Texas travel blog
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