The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s collection includes almost 70,000 antiquity-to-modern pieces. Thursdays are free day-long.
The Museum’s American art collection spans the 18th through 1940. The evolving American galleries include Frederic Church’s Cotopaxi and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Grey Lines with Black, Blue, and Yellow.
The ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern art are introduced in Art of the Ancient World. The collection includes more than 450 artifacts, including a Hellenistic Greek bronze head, an Egyptian coffin, and a Roman statue of Dionysus.
The collection covers approximately five millennia and includes China, India, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.
Arts, Crafts, and Design
The decorative arts, craft, and design collection features 17th- to 21st-century pieces of exceptional skill and inventiveness. The section collects 19th-century Revivalist, Aesthetic, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus, Scandinavian Modern, studio craft, and Postmodernism objects. The collection is noteworthy for late-19th-century American masterpieces by the Herter Brothers and Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The European art collection includes 13th- to early-20th-century paintings and sculptures. The galleries feature late Middle Ages ivories and sculpture, Renaissance paintings and bronzes, and 17th- to 19th-century paintings and sculptures.
The museum has holy and secular art. Among the most significant acquisitions is a 12th-century bronze incense burner from Iran in the form of a stylized feline, an elaborately illuminated 14th-century Qur’an from Morocco, and an early-16th-century tondino from Iznik, Turkey, the center of production for one of the most distinctive types of Islamic ceramics.
The Museum has more than 550 emblematic modern and contemporary works from Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Latino artists in the U.S. These products accompany photography, works on paper, decorative arts, painting, and sculpture from the 1930s. MFAH has around 2,000 works by Latin Americans and Latinos.
The modern and contemporary art collection spans six continents and 1,400 artifacts. Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Piet Mondrian are among the 20th- and 21st-century masters of Modern and Contemporary art, with a focus on abstraction. Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Roberto Matta, Joan Miró, and Yves Tanguy introduce surrealism. Pierre Alechinsky, Anthony Caro, Niki de Saint-Phalle, and Jean Tinguely are among the postwar European painters in the collection. Collecting in the new century has offered up new lines of research, from light-based works by James Turrell, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Bill Viola to artists who challenge art-historical narratives, such as Nan Goldin, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Do Ho Suh, and Fred Wilson.
The Museum’s photography collection includes more than 30,000 artifacts spanning the medium’s history. The collection contains 19th-century daguerreotypes, albumen prints, salt prints, 1900s platinum and gum bichromate prints, and current gelatin silver prints and colour photography.
The prints and drawings section houses the Museum’s encyclopedic collection of works on paper from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, including prints, drawings, watercolors, pastels, paintings on paper, artist books, and printmaking matrices.
Foundation Sarah Campbell Blaffer
The Blaffer Foundation has paintings, drawings, and decorative arts. A tiny collection of 20th-century art includes works by Lyonel Feininger and Edvard Munch. The collection includes 500 woodcuts, engravings, etchings, lithographs, and aquatints by Albrecht Dürer to Théodore Géricault. The Blaffer Foundation’s decorative art collection focuses on 16th- and 17th-century “cabinet of curiosities.”
Bayou Bend is the former home of Houston benefactor and collector Ima Hogg. 28 rooms and galleries display more than 2,500 artifacts. The collection includes furniture, paintings, sculpture, prints, pottery, glass, metals, and textiles from 1620 to 1876.
MFAH’s European decorative arts museum is Rienzi. Rienzi, the former residence of arts supporters Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, features an art collection, mansion, and grounds. The Mastersons collected 17th- to mid-19th-century European decorative arts, paintings, furniture, and ceramics over 40 years.
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday 10-5 10-9 Thursday Friday-Saturday 10-7 Sunday 12:15-7:00 *Mondays closed, excluding holidays
$13 Adults Seniors (65+): $8 Students, children, and military: $6 5-year-olds: Free Thursday admittance (does not include specially ticketed exhibitions)