Menil Foundation

By: Diana J. Kleiner

Type: General Entry

Published: April 1, 1995

Updated: September 6, 2017

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The Menil Foundation, Incorporated, was established in 1954 as a nonprofit charitable corporation to serve as the governing organization for the Menil Collection, 10,000 works collected by Dominique (Schlumberger) and John de Menil. As originally constituted, the foundation's purpose was to promote understanding and culture, primarily through the arts. It was dedicated to the "support and advancement of religious, charitable, literary, scientific, and educational purposes," under a three-member board of directors who have full authority over foundation assets. The foundation assembled a "land bank" to stabilize the neighborhood surrounding the museum, bought paintings, and structured the administration and operations of the collection. It also established a continuing research project on The Image of the Black in Western Art. Early board members included Menil's son, Fran├žois, daughter Philippa Pellizzi, Malcolm McCorquodale, Edmund Carpenter, Miles Glaser, and Micky Leland. Dominique de Menil was president. Resources of the foundation were largely from stock in Schlumberger, Limited, an oilfield services company cofounded by Dominique's father.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Time Periods:

  • Texas Post World War II


  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, “Menil Foundation,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 19, 2021,

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April 1, 1995
September 6, 2017

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