Dallas P. Price-Van Breda has the spirit of an adventurer. Whether in business, sport or art, she is willing to make the leap. When asked about herself, it is the experiences, rather than the art, that stand out.
“I’m a private pilot. I’ve jumped out of airplanes. I’ve Bungee jumped (dumbest thing I ever did). I’ve climbed the world’s Seven Summits. I’ve had two Harleys and a Honda. I was the California women’s doubles state champion in paddle tennis, held numerous championships in tennis and run five marathons. I’ve also helped run a business, American Golf, where I oversaw building design and construction. But the best part of all,” she says, “five kids, 12 grandchildren and five greatgrandchildren.”
As far as the arts are concerned, she is a trustee and co-founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, president emeritus of its board of trustees and serves as a member of both the curator’s council and the director’s forum at the museum.
“I’ve been on the board of MOCA for many years,” she says, “Paul Schimmel, as its incredible head curator, has built a fantastic collection of contemporary work, the best in the world (my unbiased opinion!). And the museum is off to a terrific future with the new leadership of Johanna Burton as its director.”
The Art Newspaper: What was the first work you bought?
Dallas P. Price-Van Breda: Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Screw in Waterfall (1976).
What is your most recent buy?
Tomás Saraceno’s Stratocumulus Undulatus/M+M (2018).
If your house was on fire, which work would you save?
Little guys. I would grab and run! Definitely Ken Price’s drawings and cups, or the hat Frank Gehry designed for Lady Gaga to wear during MOCA’s 2009 gala, or small treasures from Billy Al Bengston, my special friend.
If money were no object, what would be your dream purchase?
You’ll be surprised by this one. Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers (1888) from the National Gallery in London. Second choice: his Irises (1889) from the J. Paul Getty Museum.
What is the most surprising place you have displayed a work?
George Condo’s Mental State 6 (2000). A huge painting of black and gray skulls, placed in our desert home guest room.
Which artists, dead or alive, would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Billy Al Bengston because he is so contrary. Bob Van Breda, my husband, because he is a people-party person. Mark Bradford because he is so special, and a great talker. Wangechi Mutu because she is so damn creative. Deborah Butterfield because I am not the least bit horsey, and she creates brilliant ones. Bernar Vernet because he is so charming and I love his huge sculptures. Antony Gormley because his sculptures are amazing! (We have ten.)
What’s the best collecting advice you’ve been given?
I’ve kind of gone my own way. I don’t recall being advised, one way or the other.
What have you missed most during lockdown?
The freedom to drop into galleries, without having to make an appointment!
Have you bought an NFT?
Nope! And don’t intend to.