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Think pink: Marilyn Monroe & a world of wonderful art watch over Judy Nyquist's favorite room

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Judy Nyquist stands with the iconic Andy Warhol print of Marilyn Monroe that served as a starting point for the room, initiating the soft purple-pink that covers the walls. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
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Nyquist with Ellen Bell's Marilyn Dress; to the right, a work on paper by Nina Bavasso. On the mantel, a series of ceramic dessert items Nyquist purchased from the St. John's School. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
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An intriguing piece by Elena Poirot-Lopez captures three sets of paster-cast hands, each from a different generation of the Houston artist's family. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
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Scandinavian moderist Jens Risom's classic side chairs from Knoll sit under a glass dining room table adorned with flowers. Next to the Warhol print, Nyquist displays art from her children along with a Picasso print and work on paper by British artist Peter McDonald. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
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"It could be worse," reads the pink text on a quirk black textile piece next to the fireplace, adding to the light-hearted atmosphere of one of the Nyquist family's favorite rooms. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
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Editor's Note: In a CultureMap continuing series, Houstonians from all walks of life tell us about their favorite room at home.

Noted art collector Judy Nyquist’s pink dining room has been a favorite hangout since the family purchased and renovated their vintage 1930s home in River Oaks 15 years ago.

An Andy Warhol silkscreen of Marilyn Monroe watches over the light-filled room that holds some of Nyquist's most cherished pieces — a range of work that includes a Picasso print and a Nina Bavosso painting on paper to a series of ceramic dessert items crafted by sixth-grade art students at the St. John's School.

 “This room was originally a study when we bought the house, a dark space with lots of heavy wood paneling,” Nyquist remembered.“We wanted to brighten it up during our renovations, since the room gets such amazing natural light. I knew immediately that Marilyn belonged in here, so we painted the walls to match the print."

 A display of work by the Nyquist children rests prominently by the entrance to the room, just to the side of the instantly-recognizable Warhol print.

“This room was originally a study when we bought the house, a dark space with lots of heavy wood paneling,” Nyquist remembered.“We wanted to brighten it up during our renovations, since the room gets such amazing natural light. I knew immediately that Marilyn belonged in here, so we painted the walls to match the print."

Nyquist began collecting art in the 1990s during her time in London working as an art historian and curator. Drawings from the 16th through 18th centuries were her initial focus, a number of which hang on the walls just outside the pink dining room. Works on paper continue to intrigue the collector, despite the shift of her interest towards contemporary pieces.

"Drawings and other works on paper record are such a direct and spontaneous act by the artist," Nyquist noted. "That's what attracts me to so many pieces, that imprint of the artist. Of course, there's a whole other dimension when you can know or meet the person behind a certain work. That's how we started turning to more contemporary art."

Each piece in the dining room bears the indelible mark of the artist, right down to Warhol's slightly askew silkscreen print.

“We've always had a very personal and emotional attachment to our collection," Nyquist said. "We've always lived with the art. This dining room isn't used to showcase certain pieces. It's a place where we work and have our meals."

"More recently," she laughed, "the kids have been playing cards in here. What can I say... the room has great light."

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