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.