Bayou Bend is a preeminent collection of early American decorative arts and paintings, exhibited in the historic former residence of Houston philanthropist and collector Ima Hogg. She began collecting American works of art in the 1920s and soon embarked on a building project that would provide a fitting home for the collection. Designed by Houston architects John F. Staub and Birdsall P. Briscoe, the residence was completed in 1928. Wishing to share her collection with others, Hogg deeded Bayou Bend to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 1957, and it opened to the public as a house museum in 1966. Today, more than 2,500 objects are on display in 28 room settings and galleries. The collection comprises objects made or used in the United States between 1620 and 1876, including furniture, paintings, sculpture, prints, ceramics, glass, metals, and textiles.
Surrounded by a sweeping curve of Buffalo Bayou that gives the property its name, Bayou Bend encompasses approximately 14 acres of gardens. Plantings began in the late 1920s, with the greatest period of development between 1934 and 1942. Formal garden rooms, laid out along the main axial lines of the house, are complemented by informal gardens set among the wooded ravines bordering the estate. Flowering evergreen shrubs such as azaleas and camellias offer spectacular spring displays. Fountains and statuary add points of visual focus. Bayou Bend is the first historic public garden in Texas to practice organic gardening, which was initiated in 2001.
- America’s Treasures at Bayou Bend: Celebrating Fifty Years (2007)
- American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection (1998)
- Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens (2013)
- Bayou Bend Gardens: A Southern Oasis (2006)
- The David B. Warren Symposium, American Material Culture and the Texas Experience, Volumes 1–6 (2009–17)
- Texas Clay: 19th-Century Stoneware Pottery from the Bayou Bend Collection (2015)
- Texas Silver from the William J. Hill Collection (2016)
Friends and Fellows of Bayou Bend
The Friends and Fellows are a special group of individuals who are dedicated to supporting and promoting Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Founders attend private receptions and special events, tour the collection with Bayou Bend’s senior staff, and receive complimentary admission to Bayou Bend.
• Join Friends and Fellows of Bayou Bend
David B. Warren Symposium
To honor Bayou Bend’s founding director emeritus and his passion for American material culture, the MFAH established the David B. Warren Symposium, presented biennially beginning in 2007. Each symposium develops a different aspect of the overall theme of American material culture and the Texas experience.
Carol and Les Ballard Lecture Series
Twice a year, the Carol and Les Ballard Lecture Series presents renowned scholars who speak about interesting aspects of American decorative and fine arts. Each lecture takes place in Brown Auditorium Theater at the MFAH, followed by a reception. Admission is free.
The MFAH Collections
To explore all of the Museum’s works of art, search the collection.