An Enduring Legacy

DMA staff celebrated a true Dallas icon on Monday: Margaret Milam McDermott. Not only did she support the DMA throughout her life, but upon her recent passing, her renowned collection of Impressionist and modern art was given to The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund to benefit the Museum. These works will be on view in the special exhibition An Enduring Legacy: The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Collection of Impressionist and Modern Art. Though in true Margaret McDermott fashion, she added a special stipulation: prior to the public opening, DMA staff would be given a special time to enjoy her pictures—along with an abundant breakfast buffet, of course. That was just the type of person she was.

As her memorials attest, she touched many lives here in Dallas, not least of which included Museum staff. Russell Sublette, Senior Preparator, fondly recalls countless lunches in her Dallas home, where she would entertain guests from all walks of life. During one memorable meal in 2009, Mrs. McDermott discussed an upcoming trip to Gettysburg, a site she had not yet been able to visit. Surprised that her travels had not taken her there, Russell mentioned that he knew the Gettysburg Address. Mrs. McDermott asked him to recite it, and by the end, had tears streaming down her face. They shared a love of the written and spoken word, so Russell was always happy to repay her deep kindness with the gift of words. “Margaret built a nest in the clouds and she allowed us to visit. That was a great privilege,” he says.

Russell Sublette views his favorite artwork from the McDermott Collection: Poplars, Pink Effect by Claude Monet.

Madeleine Fitzgerald, Education Coordinator for Audience Relations and former McDermott Intern, looks back on her lunch with Mrs. McDermott with a smile as well: “She welcomed all the interns into her home and treated each one of us as if we were her own family, sharing stories of her life and experiences that I will always treasure.”

“Margaret was generous with a lot of zeros, generous with a few zeros, but most of all, generous with her spirit,” says Martha MacLeod, Senior Curatorial Administrator for the Curatorial Department. Her boundless generosity will truly be her lasting legacy—at the Museum and across Dallas.

An Enduring Legacy: The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Collection of Impressionist and Modern Art will be free for the public to enjoy from June 14, 2018, through February 17, 2019.

Sarah Coffey is the Education Coordinator for Internships and a former McDermott Intern at the DMA.


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