The Menil Collection, located in Houston, Texas, USA, refers either to a museum that houses the private art collection of founders John de Menil and Dominique de Menil, or to the collection itself. Dominique was an heir to the Schlumberger oil-drilling fortune, and John was an executive of that company.
The Renzo Piano-designed museum opened to the public in June 1987 and houses John and Dominique de Menils' privately assembled collection of twentieth-century art, including over 15,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and rare books. It includes the Early to mid-twentieth century works of Yves Tanguy, René Magritte, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso among others. The museum also maintains an extensive collection of pop art and contemporary art from Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Vija Celmins and Cy Twombly, among others. Also included in the museum's permanent collection are Antiquities and works of Byzantine, Medieval and Tribal art.
The Menil Collection is open to the public, and admission is free. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday 11 am to 7 pm. It is located near the University of St. Thomas in the Neartown area of Houston.
Campus and neighborhood
The museum campus has grown to include two satellite galleries to the main building: Cy Twombly Gallery (also designed by Piano) and The Dan Flavin Installation at Richmond Hall, which houses Dominique de Menil's last commission (a series of three site-specific installations by Dan Flavin that were installed in 1998). Two other buildings founded by the de Menils, but now operating as independent foundations, complete the campus: The Byzantine Fresco Chapel and the Rothko Chapel. The museum has a library that is open to qualified researchers by appointment and a bookstore open during museum hours.
The museum is governed by the Menil Foundation, established in the 1950s by the de Menils. The foundation has been solely responsible for acquisition funds, which during the first years averaged more than $1 million annually, and operating disbursements of between $2.7 million and $2.9 million a year. Nearly half of the money for the museum building was derived from outside sources in Houston, in particular the Cullen Foundation and the Brown Foundation, which contributed $5 million each.