The art collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation is a testament to the generosity and vision of Texas native Sarah Campbell Blaffer (1885–1975). The foundation maintains and continues to develop a collection of Renaissance and Baroque art for the benefit of the people of Texas. Through permanent exhibition at the MFAH and temporary exhibitions at institutions elsewhere in Texas and beyond, as well as through this website, the foundation seeks to fulfill Blaffer's desire to share her love of art. The Blaffer Foundation collection contains paintings, works on paper, and decorative arts. Special attention has been given to creating comprehensive collections that reveal the breadth of subject matter and style in a given period or region. Until 2000, the foundation had never had its own permanent exhibition space, but now the finest works in its collection occupy five galleries in the Beck Building at the MFAH.


Collecting Areas

More than 150 European Old Master paintings range predominantly from the 16th through the early 19th century, and a small collection of 20th-century paintings includes examples by Lyonel Feininger and Edvard Munch.

The print collection consists of approximately 500 woodcuts, engravings, etchings, lithographs, and aquatints, by masters from Albrecht Dürer to Théodore Géricault. A small collection of British watercolors and a selection of rare books are also maintained.

The focus of the Blaffer Foundation’s collection of decorative arts is the “cabinet of curiosities,” a type of collection popular among the educated and elite in the 16th and 17th centuries. Such cabinets included intriguing and exotic objects chosen for their rarity, intricacy, and artifice, combining manmade objects with natural wonders.

Exhibitions

The Blaffer Foundation maintains an active exhibition schedule. Individual objects have been lent to exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. In keeping with the primary mission of sharing artworks with the people of Texas, the foundation also organizes thematic exhibitions drawn from the permanent collection. Some of these exhibitions are presented at the MFAH, and many tour museums in Texas and beyond.

For information about past MFAH exhibitions, search the exhibitions archive database.

Publications

  • Aspects of British Painting, 1550–1800, from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation
  • The Body of Christ in the Art of Europe and New Spain, 1150–1800
  • Elegance and Refinement: The Still-Life Paintings of Willem van Aelst
  • Five Centuries of Italian painting, 1300–1800, from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation
  • French Painting of the Ancien Régime from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation.
  • A Golden Age of European Art: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation
  • A Golden Age of Painting: Dutch, Flemish, German Paintings, Sixteenth–Seventeenth Centuries, from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation
  • Masterpieces of Baroque Painting from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation
  • Masterpieces of European Painting from the Fourteenth to Twentieth Centuries from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation
  • The Plains of Mars: European War Prints, 1500–1825, from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation
  • Pleasure and Piety: The Art of Joachim Wtewael
  • A Portrait of the Artist, 1525–1825: Prints from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation

The MFAH Collections

To explore all of the Museum’s works of art, search the collection.