Color, Scent, and Memory: Rienzi’s Gardens 1954–1999 Through July 31, 2024

Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, presents special exhibitions that are included with general admission.

Rienzi opened to the public in 1999, and ever since, the gardens have provided Houston the opportunity to witness a living collection of plants, flowers, trees, and sensory moments. This small exhibition presents an archival investigation into the history of Rienzi’s gardens.

The original owners of Rienzi—Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III—worked with their friend, landscape architect Ralph Ellis Gunn, to create the design. Under the Mastersons’ guidance and through Gunn’s design and engineering skills, the gardens evolved according to the unique and challenging qualities of the site and the prevailing horticultural and design styles of the times. Color, Scent, and Memory: Rienzi’s Gardens 1954–1999 celebrates the gardens on the 25th anniversary of Rienzi’s opening.

The gardens showcase the beauty of flowers, foliage, and sculptural forms on the banks of Buffalo Bayou, utilizing the natural ravines and towering trees to create a sense of dynamism and grandeur. Themes of color, scent, and memory offer a sense of cohesion throughout the gardens, while distinct formal areas provide a sense of individual space.

Color, Scent, and Memory: Rienzi’s Gardens 1954–1999 / March 8–July 31, 2024

This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


1406 Kirby Drive
Houston, TX 77019
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