A New Book About the 20th Century’s Most Glamorous Art Patrons Is a Good Excuse for a Great Party
A couple of days after the orgiastic excesses of the Met Ball (who knew Catholicism could feel so sinful?), celebrating the launch of Double Vision: The Unerring Eye of Artworld Avatars Dominique and John de Menil felt like a return to a chicer, more genteel era. The de Menils, who put their hometown of Houston on the art map with the world-famous nondenominational Rothko Chapel they commissioned in 1964, were among the most serious art patrons and collectors of the 20th century. In their day, they surely would have been the toast of the Met—though it’s highly unlikely that Dominique de Menil, who favored Charles James, would have rocked a shimmering, abbreviated pope-lette dress. William Middleton, the author of the dishy yet scholarly book chronicling the de Menils’ rise and their lasting legacy, spent over a decade in Texas doing research; so it was fitting that Allison Sarofim, a Houstonite who is intimately familiar with the Menil Collection, the museum that houses the treasures that the de Menils collected during their lifetimes, should have hosted the cocktail in his honor, at her home in the West Village. (Sarofim knows a thing or two about entertaining—her Halloween parties are legendary.) The crowd gathered in her garden included designers like Francesca Amfitheatrof and Adam Lippes, the artist Marc Quinn, and the philanthropist Becca Cason Thrash—but all heads turned when the legendary Texas hostess Lynn Wyatt made a perfectly coiffed appearance, quietly giving a lesson in timeless style. No capes, sequins, headpieces, red carpets, or paparazzi required—the de Menils would have surely approved.