De Menil’s re-embrace of her artistic side through design (she sells her jewelry and jumpsuits on her Web site, christophedemenil.com) seems to have given her some respite from grieving Dash’s death. Her apartment bears reminders of her deceased grandson and their playful relationship: Propped up on a table are five Polaroids of grandmother and grandson, taken in a Los Angeles hotel room, where they stayed while Dash completed community service time that resulted from a graffiti charge. In the photos de Menil sports a chic black T-shirt and Wayfarer-style sunglasses, and, at Dash’s request, wields scissors, pretending to cut his long, scraggly hair.
Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s worldwide head of contemporary art, and his partner, private art consultant Mark Fletcher, collect Dash’s work and know de Menil. “They took great delight in each other,” says Meyer. “[His work] had this beautiful irreverence and, at the same time, an assured, formalistic hand that maneuvered through it very beautifully, like a clairvoyant. Maybe that’s also the quality that I see in Christophe a little bit. [She has] an understanding of people that’s instinctive. She understands how artists are.”
De Menil has stayed close to Dash’s partner, Jade Berreau, and their two-and-a-half-year-old flaxen-haired daughter, Secret Midnight Magic Nico Snow. The doting great-grandmother recently began printing out old and new family photographs and taping them to the walls of her kitchen. Sitting at the table, one is surrounded by Dash, Jade and Secret; de Menil as a radiant twentysomething with infant daughter Taya cradled on her lap; family matriarch Dominique. The idea was to give a sense of security to the youngest Snow. “I told Secret, ‘Papa’s gone, but you are safe,’” de Menil says. “‘You have a big family. You have a clan.’”