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Celebrating in Yves Klein blue

Menil Collection 25th anniversary raises $3 million from illustrious, international art world crowd

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The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Isaac Heimbinder, Sheila Heimbinder, Jeff Beauchamp
Isaac Heimbinder, Sheila Heimbinder, Jeff Beauchamp Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Francois de Menil, Susan de Menil
Francois de Menil, Susan de Menil Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Josef Helfenstein and Lynn Wyatt
Josef Helfenstein, Lynn Wyatt Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Janet Hobby, Paul Hobby
Janet Hobby, Paul Hobby Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Mel Chin, Lyle Ashton Harris
Mel Chin, Lyle Ashton Harris Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Harry Pinson, Karen Pinson
Harry Pinson, Karen Pinson Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Sara Dodd-Spickelmier, Keith Spickelmier
Sara Dodd-Spickelmier, Keith Spickelmier Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Almine Ruiz-Picasso, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso
Almine Ruiz-Picasso, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Ransom Lummis, Isabel Lummis
Ransom Lummis, Isabel Lummis Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Franci Crane, Jim Crane
Franci Crane, Jim Crane Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Mickey Rosmarin, Judy Nyquist, Scott Nyquist
Mickey Rosmarin, Judy Nyquist, Scott Nyquist Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Becca Cason Thrash, Hamish Bowles
Becca Cason Thrash, Hamish Bowles Photo by © Eric Hester
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, David Gerger and Melanie Lawson, John Guess Jr.
David Gerger, Melanie Lawson, John Guess Jr. Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Mark Sullivan, Diane Lokey Farb, Le Melcher, Janet Shamlian
Mark Sullivan, Diane Lokey Farb, Le Melcher, Janet Shamlian Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Georges de Menil, Ann Schlumberger Brown, Lois de Menil, Peter Brown
Georges de Menil, Ann Schlumberger Brown, Lois de Menil, Peter Brown Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, George Masterson, Catherine Masterson
George Masterson, Catherine Masterson Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Carrie Pepi, Jane Rucker
Carrie Pepi, Jane Rucker Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Josh Tanzer, Suzy Tanzer, Harry Pinson, Leurel Pinson
Josh Tanzer, Suzy Tanzer, Harry Pinson, Leurel Pinson Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Ed Wulfe, Lorraine Wulfe
Ed Wulfe, Lorraine Wulfe Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Brian McCabe, Elisabeth McCabe
Brian McCabe, Elisabeth McCabe Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Sara Morgan, Bill Morgan, Frances Marzio
Sara Morgan, Bill Morgan, Frances Marzio Photo by © Gary Fountain
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Isaac Heimbinder, Sheila Heimbinder, Jeff Beauchamp
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Francois de Menil, Susan de Menil
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Josef Helfenstein and Lynn Wyatt
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Janet Hobby, Paul Hobby
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Mel Chin, Lyle Ashton Harris
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Harry Pinson, Karen Pinson
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Sara Dodd-Spickelmier, Keith Spickelmier
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Almine Ruiz-Picasso, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Ransom Lummis, Isabel Lummis
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Franci Crane, Jim Crane
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Mickey Rosmarin, Judy Nyquist, Scott Nyquist
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Becca Cason Thrash, Hamish Bowles
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, David Gerger and Melanie Lawson, John Guess Jr.
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Mark Sullivan, Diane Lokey Farb, Le Melcher, Janet Shamlian
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Georges de Menil, Ann Schlumberger Brown, Lois de Menil, Peter Brown
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, George Masterson, Catherine Masterson
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Carrie Pepi, Jane Rucker
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Josh Tanzer, Suzy Tanzer, Harry Pinson, Leurel Pinson
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Ed Wulfe, Lorraine Wulfe
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Brian McCabe, Elisabeth McCabe
The Menil 25th anniversary gala, December 2012, Sara Morgan, Bill Morgan, Frances Marzio

Art world cognoscenti jetted in from five continents as old guard stalwarts bowed in in their typical understated style and fresh faces in the social scene drove up in their Maseratis and Bentleys — each arriving at the Menil Collection in his own manner Friday night but each with the shared mission of celebrating the museum's 25th anniversary.  

Both the glitteratti and the silk-stocking crowd delved deep into their pockets for the gala (only the third in the museum's history), resulting in unexpected proceeds of close to $3 million, twice the hoped-for goal. Even before bidding on the 31 stellar art works offered in the silent auction, museum coffers had swelled by $2.2 million. 

The decidedly glamorous crowd included Allison Sarofim, her beau, Stuart Parr, and her table of gents from New York. 

More than 700 strong, the black-tie crowd initiated the evening in the Renzo Piano-designed museum for cocktails and tours of the various exhibitions featuring works by Renee Magritte, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Yves Klein, whose blue series inspired the gala theme. In the grand foyer where Klein's works were hung, gala chairs — Franci Crane, Sara Dodd-Spickelmier, Isabel Lummis, Susan de Menil and Karen Pinson — welcomed the international coterie.

German art dealer and DIA Art Foundation co-founder Heiner Friedrich (ex-husband of Philippa de Menil), table designer/interior designer Liana Yaroslavsky of Paris, Vogue international editor at large Hamish Bowlesevent planner extraordinaire Ben Bourgeois of Los Angeles and Architectural Digest contributor Carlos Mota were among them. In from New York were honorary chairs Almine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, grandson of Pablo Picasso.

Act two of the evening took place in a massive rectangular tent, complete with hardwood floors, gauzy draping, ample air-conditioning and shades of blue lighting. The serene, minimalist decor was a collaborative effort between the Menil's exhibition designer Brooke Stroud and event designer Rebekah Johnson. While the subtle blue lighting was a nod to Klein's oeuvre, the rotating light-filled boxes overhead served as a visual flourish echoing Robert Matta's cube esthetic.

The evening was blessedly short on program with video screens at each end of the tent telling the museum story in streaming photos and film. Museum director Josef Helfenstein and Louisa Sarofim, who has served as museum chair since the death of museum founder Dominique de Menil in 1998, provided the only commentary.

By night's end, the diverse crowd had become one as they juked and jived in unison to the rocking sounds of Party on the Moon. 

The decidedly glamorous crowd included Allison Sarofim, her beau Stuart Parr and her table of gents from New York, Janet and Paul Hobby, Marcy Taub Wessell and Tom Wessell, Lynn Wyatt, Elise and Russell Joseph, Francoise and Edward Djerejian, Janie C. Lee and David Warren, Eliza and Stewart Stedman, Ann and Peter Brown, Becca Cason Thrash, John Thrash, Nancy Allen and Menil biographer William Middleton.

By night's end, the diverse crowd had become one as they juked and jived in unison to the rocking sounds of Party on the Moon. On the dance floor, we spotted a rollicking Mel Chin, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Susie and Sanford Criner, Bill Stern, Winell and Doug Heron, Melanie Gray and Mark Wawro, Kathryn Mosbacher, Heidi and David Gerger, Carbina and Steven Owsley and Betty and Stephen Newton.

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