Home » Andy Warhol: portrait of Dominique De Menil

Andy Warhol: portrait of Dominique De Menil

    The present work, a portrait of the visionary art collector and patron of the arts Dominique de Menil (1908-1997), is one of the first serial portraits on canvas that Warhol created in the 1960’s and historically one of his most important.

    The portrait was created in the signature style of his Jackie, Marilyn and Liz portraits, very similar to his own early self-portraits.

    Andy Warhol, Dominique De Menil, screen print ink and polymer ink on canvas, 1969

    Still far away from the colorful style of the ’70s and ’80s, this canvas reflects the typical Andy Warhol’s style of the ’60s. Just two colors were indeed used: one for the background and one for the screen printed image (the smiling face of Mrs De Menil).







    The photo source for the Dominique De Menil portrait

    The portrait of Dominique de Menil is also one of Warhol’s most personally significant and meaningful works as its subject, Mrs De Menil, was as Victor Bockris described her “the biggest collector of Warhols in America” and as such became the artist’s single greatest supporter.

    One of the key points about the Dominique De Menil portrait, apart from the aesthetic charm of the colours used (lilac and light red), is its rarity. Whilst the offer on the market of Warhol’s canvases from the 70s and 60s is very generous, the works done in the 60s are extremely difficult to find and therefore very appreciated among Warhol’s collectors.

    DOMINIQUE DE MENIL was a French American heiress to an oil fortune, a philanthropist, and a prominent art collector. Her and her husband, John, established a renown art collection in their home in Houston, after emigrating from Europe upon the outbreak of World War II. Like the salons of the early twentieth century, the de Menil home became a space for artists and art enthusiasts to gather and share ideas and opinions. Their devotion to the contemporary art of their time reached its height when in 1987, they established the Menil Collection in Houston, a museum dedicated to exhibiting their treasures. All the while, Dominique spent years cultivating strong relationships with the artists she most admired, especially Andy Warhol. By the 1960s, Dominique was known as one of the biggest collectors of works by Warhol in the United States and quickly became the artist’s biggest financial supporter

    Andy Warhol signing posters, with Viva and Dominique de Menil (seated at table), University of St. Thomas, Houston, 1968. (Courtesy Menil Archives, The Menil Collection, Photo Hickey-Robertson)

    Andy Warhol, Jane Forth, and Dominique de Menil with other guests, at the exhibition “Raid the Icebox 1 with Andy Warhol,” at Rice Museum, Institute for the Arts, Rice University, 1969. (Courtesy Menil Archives, The Menil Collection, Photo Hickey-Robertson)