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Demitri Vail

Posted by Dr. William Gorman 
Re: Dmitri Vail
July 09, 2008 11:39AM
This is an interesting discussion. I met Mr. Vail in 1986 and later began taking care of his landscaping from about 1988 until his death. I saw and spoke with him about once a week during those years. I got the sense that I was one of the few people he had a chance to talk with regularly. His house did, indeed, have paintings stacked everywhere. It was really an interesting, if not a little sad, place. He married a woman shortly before his death. From my perspective, it was not a relationship based on great depth of affection, but it was certainly interesting to watch. He was a unique fellow. When I learned that his house was to be razed, I removed the address plate from the curb and I think it is probably sitting in my parents' backyard right now. Sort of like a hood ornament to a car that no longer exists.
Re: Dmitri Vail
October 20, 2008 04:53PM
I was a close friend of Dmitri's in his final years. He honored me with a painting that somehow was lost over the years. one of my great regrets. Dmitri was victim to many skalliwags in his final years. There always seemed to be someone after his paintings and a few did get away. His paintings (last I know) hung at the restaurant at the former estate of Audi Murphy and at Neiman Marcus. I think of him often and am very glad to see he is a topic of discussion now. Dmitri's pavorite painting was of Emmet Kelley and followed closely by Totie Fields. he never met a person he wasn't fascinated by. i he was a true student of the human condition. I often wonder what became of the hand painted "Disney Themed" cabinets in his now razed home in Highland Park. They were (and still would be) a true treasure. I am sure he would be honored by this conversation. I know I am.
Re: Demitri Vail
June 12, 2009 09:50AM
He did a portrait of my wife's father in his DPS uniform. I think there were several of his works at Campise's Italian ( the old one). We still have the likeness - signed by Dmitri. What a great sketch artist.
Re: Demitri Vail
July 15, 2010 11:11AM
I have one of his paintings.It is as i was told the only painting he ever did from memory.It is called The organ-grinder and the State Fair of Texas..It was done in 1954. It is framed in a very heavy gilded frame covered with glass.The frame is dated1936.
I was offered a very large sum of money for this painting over 15 years ago. Has anyone here ever seen it?I also owned the Curtis Coats (fight nite) with his manager in the coner and with his cut man.Another was of Guandhi,.One other was of a black movie star,cant remember his name.The last two were stolen from my home in a burgalery about 16 years ago.I am sure this will spark alot of interest,and more questions than i have the time to answer.But i will help as much as i can.
Re: Demitri Vail
December 09, 2011 09:28PM
I also knew Dimitri when I was a kid. He was a very good friend of my Grandmother dating back to the 40's. I have several of his paintings including two of his self portraits one from 1953 and the other from 1976 does anyone know where I can get these appraised and maybe displayed in a gallery?
Re: Demitri Vail
December 31, 2012 08:27AM
Hello, I'm David Prather, I somehow found this "Phorum" and began reading; I thought it was great, as it brought back many memories, so I thought I'd add my limited experiences:
I worked for Dmitri Vail back many years ago, helping to frame, deliver & set up many of his paintings; he had an old van that I drove to do this. I went to numerous spots including the old Sheridan Hotel off of Hwy. 67, that became the dorm for Christ for the Nations, as mentioned before and several big office buildings & other restaurants around Dallas. (I had to make sure to get the little lights, that were mounted to the top of the frame, just right, as Dmitri insisted on it).
While Dmitri was painting a portrait of Don Ameche, at his home on Armstrong in the Highland Park area and while Don Ameche was acting at a dinner theatre (either Granny's or Windmill) in "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to a Forum", I was able to meet Don Ameche, given tickets to the show and rode with Dmitri there one night. It was quiite a thrill for me and after the show I was able to spend time with the whole cast and I'll never forget it. Dmitri was painting Don Ameche in person at first, but due to Don's schedule he couldn't stay, so Dmitri finished it by a picture of him in the exact setting from which he started in person. The work was magnificent, to say the least and was finished in time for a big celebration, in which Don Ameche came to.
I can't remember of the name of the place right now or the exact year, but there was an old German Restaurant, (across from the old European Crossroads Shopping Center & next to Bachman Lake), we were all celebrating one of Dmitri's birthdays, perhaps his 80th, I brought in many of his portraits, including the Don Ameche portrait that I mentioned above. A famous cook was flown in, David Wade-the galloping gourmet; he cooked up exotic dishes like, smoked Lion, Zebra crepes, hippopotamus chili and other items, whale was suppose to be on the menu, but due to the legal problems it did not arrive. The press was all there in full, as at the time, this was quite an important thing.
Again, this experience was a very short time in my life and especially in Dmitri's, but it is one I'll never forget. Thanks for the memories and a place to share. them. David
Re: Demitri Vail
January 07, 2013 06:30PM
Welcome, David!
As you can tell, this is an anecdotal site and we enjoy not only our own personal memories but the opportunity to share our collective experiences. Mr. Vail has obviously made an impression on our sense of what Dallas is. Thank you for sharing your personal moment.
Re: Demitri Vail
January 07, 2013 06:31PM
Welcome, David!
As you can tell, this is an anecdotal site and we enjoy not only our own personal memories but the opportunity to share our collective experiences. Mr. Vail has obviously made an impression on our sense of what Dallas is. Thank you for sharing your personal moment.
Re: Demitri Vail
November 07, 2013 07:57AM
Dmitri Vail originals available in a current estate sale . . .

Re: Dimitri Vail
February 16, 2014 02:51PM
Absolutely correct, The Holiday Inn at Central and Fitzhugh maintained a large display of Dimitri Vail's works. My wife and I moved to Dallas in March of 1970 when we graduated from UT Austin, and by early 1971, we had migrated to a large apartment complex called the Mi Amigo just east of Central on Fitzhugh. That Holiday Inn was very nice in those days, and we went there for dinner upon occasion. A highlight of the trip was always to walk down the long corridor where Vail's paintings were displayed and marvel at the man's enormous talent...thank you for jogging another memory of Dallas in the 60a and 70s - a magical city suspended in a magical era.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/2015 06:59AM by WFTilson4.
Re: Not there
April 09, 2016 02:35PM
I have two originals by Dmitri Vail, His John F. Kennedy and Dr. Troy Long. If I could upload pictures I could show you.
Re: Demitri Vail
April 09, 2016 08:25PM
How well I remember seeing some of his portraits along the back wall of the (then) Varsity Theater in Snider Plaza.
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