My Pals


Using this space to capture memories with friends along the way. Scroll over pictures for more about the love they shared with me and my family…

Your flea market/junque store finds could end up as a two year exhibition funded by the Dia Art Foundation and housed in the Menil Collection’s Byzantine Chapel. It worked for Francis Alÿs. The Belgian artist decided to craft an art collection for his home using reproductions of masterpieces found in Belgium markets; he was instead intrigued by several images of the same woman, posed the same way, in the same clothing. He bought a few and – 514 mixed media, wood, ceramic and oil pieces later – the rest is history.

Who is this historical, left-facing woman? She’s fourth-century Fabiola, the patron saint of nurses and protector of abused women. The original painting is thought to be ca. 1885 by French academician Jean-Jacques Henner. According to the Menil’s Gallery Guide:

Little noted in the ecclesiastical pantheon for centuries after her canonization in AD 537, Fabiola finally escaped from obscurity on the wave of the Catholic revival that swept late nineteenth-century Europe. According to her first advocate, the early church father Saint Jerome, she left an abusive husband and remarried, only to be widowed some years later. After converting to Christianity and making public penance for the sin of divorce, she then devoted the remainder of her life (and fortune) to charitable work, reputedly founding the first hospital for the poor on the outskirts of Rome in the late fourth century.” 

Read the Houston Chronicle‘s review here.

The original painting is nowhere to be found, but don’t miss the chance to sit in the presence of 514 Saint Fabiolas in the beautiful Byzantine Chapel designed by Francois de Menil to house 13th century frescoes acquired by his mother after she bartered with pirates. True story. Francis Alÿs: The Fabiola Project runs through May 13, 2018.