A Tale of Two Homes

Max and Lynn Chennault have filled their Dallas abode and their Santa Fe adobe with art


Deep in the Heart of Dallas

When native Texans Max and Lynn Chennault were first married, they didn’t realize they shared a passion for western art. But in 1969, while Max was serving a stint in the Air Force in Great Falls, MT, the couple soon found they relished spending their spare time trawling art galleries and museums. Both were initially drawn to wildlife art. The Chennaults’ first art purchase, Montana Grizzly by Asa (Ace) Powell, depicts a bear above the timberline. Max recalls paying about $225 for the piece. Today the painting hangs in Max’s study in their Dallas-area home. The couple, who recently retired—he is dentist and she is a former executive—also own a second home in Santa Fe, NM.

Each house sports a different personality and ambiance, one more traditional and the other more whimsical. Lynn jokingly refers to her Texas abode as “an Englishman came to Texas.” The residence evokes a formal ambiance and includes 18th-century antiques, Queen Anne chairs upholstered in blue velvet, and a 1730 Thistle grandfather clock. Oriental rugs blanket the oak hardwood floors.
Such traditional furnishings coexist peacefully alongside paintings and sculptures by prominent contemporary western artists such as G. Harvey, Francis Livingston, James Boren, Jason Rich, and Louisa McElwain, pieces the couple has amassed during the course of their 40-year marriage.

The Chennaults say they usually agree on art purchases. Max adds, “We don’t buy impulsively. We try to have a reason for what we buy.” For their Dallas home they often purchase art on regular fall trips to Jackson, WY, where they stop in at West Lives On Gallery, Legacy Gallery, and Mountain Trials Gallery. The couple’s newest painting, purchased last September at Mountain Trails, is Lone Mountain Teepee by Tom Gilleon. It currently hangs in a place of honor in their living/music room area, which is also home to an antique piano. “We have admired Gilleon’s work for several years,” Lynn says. “Many artists have painted teepees, but his have a luminescence that is so unique. Lone Mountain in Montana is a place we have been several times, and the painting spoke to us.”

Down Home in Santa Fe

Step inside the Chennaults’ home in Santa Fe and immediately be greeted with a palette of playful colors and art pieces. The couple built their second home in the Land of Enchantment in 1992. That same year they purchased Church At Lamy by Irby Brown, which now takes center stage in their dining area. The Chennaults went on to buy a series of Brown’s church paintings that grace the walls throughout their friendly adobe. “I loved the colors they represent and the familiar landscape around Santa Fe that they portray,” Lynn says of the paintings. Max recalls being attracted to Church At Lamy because of the historical reference—the church was named after the legendary Catholic archbishop who built the St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe.


The Chennaults’ Santa Fe home mixes antique crockery and hand-crafted furniture with paintings by Grant MacDonald, John Moyers, Kim Wiggins, Dix Baines, and Dan Lomahaftewa. Saltillo tile floors as well as nooks and crannies sprinkled with folk and Spanish Colonial artworks enhance the rustic, southwestern feel. “Our taste for art has changed over the years. We started out collecting very realistic art—wildlife, western, and landscape art,” Lynn says. “We have added more impressionistic art, and we have also expanded into sculpture, textiles, pottery, and folk art.” The Chennaults visit their Santa Fe home almost every month and are regular presences at Altermann Galleries, Manitou Galleries, Wadle Galleries, and McLarry Fine Art.

While their taste has expanded and may be eclectic, the Chennaults do have several guidelines they follow: They usually purchase art by living artists (although some have passed away over the years), and they collect what they like and don’t worry about buying for investment purposes. Both agree: “We appreciate both the talent and seeing the world through the eyes of the artists. Art has enriched our lives.”

Bonnie Ganglehoff, is senior editor for Southwest Art.

Originally appeared in Southwest Art - March 2008

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