Posts Tagged 'Coco Chanel'

Searching for Chanel at the DMA

When Wendy Reves donated a massive collection of over 1,400 objects to the DMA in 1985, it was already known that a few large furniture objects, like the dining table, originally belonged to Coco Chanel. Recently, we began a new quest to see what other objects might have belonged to Mlle Chanel that are currently in the DMA’s collection. To do so, we looked at old photographs from the 1930s and 40s, when the designer lived at Villa La Pausa, in southern France, and tried to match furniture in those photos to what we have today in the Reves Collection. When we found matches, we knew that the objects were left behind by Coco Chanel when she sold La Pausa to Emery and Wendy Reves in the early 1950s. Here are a few examples so you can go see for yourself.

The Entry:
entry

This chandelier was originally in Coco Chanel’s bedroom, hanging above her bed. Like most people who move, Mlle Chanel didn’t feel the need to take the light fixtures in her home with her. Wendy Reves, however, decided this could not stay in her new bedroom and moved it to the entryway of her home.

hanel’s Bedroom at La Pausa, with the chandelier now in the Reves entry and the desk at the right now serving as a buffet table in the Reves Dining Room.

Chanel’s bedroom at La Pausa, with the chandelier now in the Reves entry and the desk at the right, now serving as a buffet table in the Reves Dining Room

The Dining Room:
dining

This long table was originally used by Coco Chanel as a desk; however, Wendy decided that this could be useful in another way. She unfolded the leaves and moved it into her dining room to act as a buffet table.

The Grand Hall:
clock

Mlle Chanel had a set of two matching clocks, this one, which is now hanging in the Grand Hall, and another that hangs above the fireplace in the Reves Salon. When Wendy and Emery Reves moved in, they enjoyed these gold clocks and kept them in their original locations before donating them to the DMA.

Coco’s Great Hall, with the same sunburst clock on the wall.

Coco’s Great Hall, with the same sunburst clock on the wall.

The Library:
library

Possibly one of the coolest furniture items in the Reves Collection, this chair actually reclines using steel rods that come out of the handles. You can barely see them here, but pulling them out and pushing them in changes the recline of this chair. It is probably not as comfortable as our plush recliners today, but it was still the prototype. This early version of the recliner was originally in Mlle Chanel’s bedroom.

The Reclining Chair in the Library, shown with the rods pulled out

The reclining chair in the Library, shown with the rods pulled out

The Bedroom:
mirror

Originally in Mlle Chanel’s bedroom at La Pausa, this mirror didn’t travel far when Wendy and Emery Reves moved. They opted to keep it in their own bedroom. Interestingly, this is the only item that belonged to Coco Chanel that is in the Reves Bedroom.

The other side of Coco’s bedroom features the mirror now in the bedroom of the Reves collection as well as the reclining chair now in the library.

The other side of Coco’s bedroom features the mirror now in the Reves Bedroom as well as the reclining chair now in the Library.

The Salon:
salon

Of the many items in this room that belonged to Coco Chanel, we think that this yellow couch might have originally been covered in a darker fabric and left behind when she sold La Pausa. Wendy liked the color yellow and recovered the couch to fit her tastes. We can see the similarity between them when comparing the side views.

Chanel’s Salon at La Pausa, with the same couch seen from the side.

Chanel’s Salon at La Pausa, with the same couch seen from the side

Michael Hartman is the McDermott Intern for European Art at the DMA.

Joyeux Anniversaire Coco Chanel

You may know that one of the most popular areas of the Museum is the Reves Collection, housed on our third level in a partial re-creation of the Villa La Pausa, the home of Wendy and Emery Reves in the south of France.

But what you may not know is that La Pausa was formerly owned by the designer Coco Chanel and was originally built for her in 1927. Wendy and Emery Reves bought it in the early fifties, and for almost eighty years the villa welcomed high-profile guests such as the Duke of Westminster, Luchino Visconti, Jean Cocteau, Greta Garbo, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Somerset Maugham, and Graham Sutherland.

In honor of Chanel’s birthday on Friday (she would have been 128), we gathered a few photos to share of Chanel’s life at La Pausa.

Coco Chanel at La Pausa, 1938

Coco Chanel (in front of window) in the dining room at La Pausa, 1938

The La Pausa dining room in the Reves Collection

Celebrating the Silver: The Reves Collection at Twenty-Five

We just celebrated the silver anniversary of the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection and ever since its opening twenty-five years ago, it has been one of our most visited galleries. Featuring more than 1,400 European artworks and decorative objects, including masterpieces by Renoir, Manet, Degas, and Pissarro, this remarkable gift from the Wendy & Emery Reves Foundation, Inc. on behalf of Wendy’s late husband, Emery, transformed the Museum’s collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century European art and European decorative art.

What’s also amazing is that visitors see this collection in a 16,500-square-foot wing made specifically for it.  Built in 1985, this is not the run-of-the mill gallery space. These rooms are a faithful reproduction of the couple’s villa in the South of France. Named La Pausa, it was built in 1927  for that ultimate fashionista Coco Chanel, who directed its design. For example, the patio and the hall were built specifically to remind “Mademoiselle” of the Romanesque convent outside Paris where she boarded as a child. Many of the furnishings in the Museum’s Reves wing, including a chair in the living room, were part of Chanel’s original décor of the villa.

DMA architect Edward Larrabee Barnes meticulously re-created the library, dining room, salon, bedroom, hall, patio, and central courtyard from this  luxurious—and historically fascinating—Mediterranean retreat.

On this silver anniversary here’s a look back:

Today, visitors to the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection can access a DMA smARTphone tour of highlights from the collection. On it, Wendy Reves shares memories of life at Villa La Pausa and of her and her husband’s passion for collecting art.

Martha MacLeod is the European and American Art Curatorial Administrative Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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