Bayou Bend, the house museum for the MFAH collection of early American decorative arts and paintings, is the former home of Houston philanthropist and collector Ima Hogg. She began collecting American materials 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 MFAH in 1957, and it opened to the public 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 that reflect the Beaux Arts design traditions of the American Country Place Era, as well as the Southern garden heritage that Hogg sought to capture. Plantings began in the late 1920s, with the greatest period of development between 1934 and 1942. Major features and more formal “garden rooms” are laid out along the main axial lines of the house, and less formal, or “wild,” areas are placed off axis. Masses of flowering evergreen shrubs such as azaleas and camellias provide a foundation for the plantings and offer spectacular spring displays. Fountains and statuary add movement, sound, and points of visual focus. Bayou Bend is the first historic public garden in Texas to practice organic gardening, which was initiated in 2001. Learn more about visiting Bayou Bend.
- A Texas Legacy: Selections from the William J. Hill Collection October 2, 2016–January 2, 2017
For information about past MFAH exhibitions, search the exhibitions archive database.
- America’s Treasures at Bayou Bend: Celebrating Fifty Years
- American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection
- Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
- Bayou Bend Gardens: A Southern Oasis
- David B. Warren Symposium, Volume 4: Itinerant and Immigrant Artists and Artisans in 19th-Century Texas
- Texas Clay: 19th-Century Stoneware Pottery from the Bayou Bend Collection
Friends, Patrons, and Founders of Bayou Bend
The Friends, Patrons, and Founders of Bayou Bend are a special group of individuals who are dedicated to supporting and promoting Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, the historic home of Ima Hogg that houses one of the world’s premier collections of early American decorative arts, paintings, and sculpture. Founders attend private receptions and special events, tour the collection with Bayou Bend’s senior staff, and receive complimentary admission to Bayou Bend.
Join the Friends, Patrons, and Founders 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.