DMA Insight

McDermott Art Fund

The Dallas Museum of Art entered its maturity as a cultural institution beginning in the 1960s. It was certainly no coincidence that the first year of that decade witnessed the foundation of the McDermott Art Fund, created by and named for Margaret and Eugene McDermott, whose philanthropy in Dallas is nearly without parallel. Their generosity has benefited an impressive array of cultural, educational, and healthcare organizations in Texas and elsewhere. The Dallas Museum of Art is among these fortunate institutions.

The objects that have entered the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art with the help of the McDermott Art Fund are of the highest quality and represent numerous cultures and historical time periods.

Characteristically, Margaret McDermott's use of the fund seems to be guided by her deep personal concern for and engagement with the individuals who work for the Museum. She has consistently encouraged the curators of the Dallas Museum of Art by enabling them, through the support of the fund, to build their various collections, and in many cases she has used the McDermott Art Fund gifts to honor lifetime contributions to the Museum by curators, directors, and other patrons.

Excerpt from

Carl Wuellner, “The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund,” in Dallas Museum of Art 100 Years, eds. Dorothy Kosinski, et al. (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 2003), 15.

Related Multimedia

Interview with Gerald Saxon for Oral History program; Topics: How Margaret was first involved with the DMA; time as museum staff doing public relations; work as journalist in Japan; first DMFA fundraising campaign in the late 1940s; her term as DMFA President; involvement in the Arts of Man exhibition; DMCA merger; DMFA directors Jerry Bywaters, Merrill Rueppell, and Harry Parker; term as DMFA Board Chairman and working with President John Murchison; New Museum [20:00] and Edward Larrabee Barnes design; On collecting for the museum [23:00] to strengthen the collection; buying collections of objects, in areas where the museum was lacking, example Stillman Collection; giving to museum is a lasting pleasure and ongoing; first piece given by McDermotts was Maillol's Flora, when Mary was four years old; intern and staff endowments, philosophy on art in the public domain
Oral history [more of a recorded conversation than an interview] interview at McDermott's house in Allen, TX; with Dorothy Kosinski for DMA centennial publication. Topics: Margaret McDermott's start of involvement in museum; DMFA exhibitions, especially Arts of Man; beginnings of serving wine at openings; Margaret on Jerry Bywaters; DMFA as a regional museum and focus on Texas artists; Texas Artists party (2003); term as Chairman of Board and working with President John Murchison; New Museum; on Reves collection; acquisition of Wise Collection (cut off at end of tape); People mentioned: Jim Clark, Merrill Rueppell, Fred Mayer, Eugene McDermott; Harry Parker
Oral history interview at McDermott's house in Allen, TX; with Dorothy Kosinski for DMA centennial publication; continuation of Part 1; Topics: (missing beginning from changing tape) 100 Hours celebration

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