The sole heir of model and socialite Wendy Reves, who died in 2007, filed a case last month in federal court claiming that the Dallas Museum of Art and five trustees conspired to defraud him of a $400m art collection. He says the museum took advantage of his mother and spirited the collection out of France on a private jet to avoid inheritance laws. Born Wyn-Nelle Russell in Marshall, Texas, Wendy married Emery Reves, a Hungarian-born writer and Winston Churchill’s literary agent. The Reves’, who lived in a villa built for Coco Chanel in the south of France, assembled a 1,400-strong art collection, including work by Van Gogh and Renoir. Wendy Reves (above in a 1978 portrait by Graham Sutherland) donated the collection to the museum after her husband’s death in 1981, where it was housed in a specially built wing. Arnold Leon Schroeder Jr, Wendy Reves’ son from her first marriage, says the museum’s trustees used their “Texas charm and flattery” to convince the “lonely widow and chronic alcoholic” to move the collection to Dallas instead of turning the villa into a museum. If it had remained in France, Schroeder says he would be entitled to half of his mother’s estate. The Dallas museum says the case is “without merit”.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Texan charm upsets collectors’ son'