Art and literature meet here! Designed for both established book clubs and individuals interested in creating connections between literary and visual arts, the MFAH Book Club links works of literature to works of art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

The MFAH Book Club presents three selections per year. Each book:

  • Is featured for a four-month period in the fall, spring, and summer
  • Is accompanied by a downloadable discussion guide to facilitate group discussions • For those in book clubs
  • Culminates with a docent-led tour at the Museum, scheduled in advance • For those in book clubs
  • Has a Goodreads group dedicated to online discussion throughout the book’s four-month period • For individuals

Summer 2017

The summer 2017 selection for the MFAH Book Club is The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith, a New York Times best seller and New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. 

Tours: June 1–September 30, 2017
Download the discussion guide

“Across three continents and 400 years, Dominic Smith has spun a stunning tale of forgeries and deaths, deception and love, to reveal the lasting legacy of a fateful brushstroke. When Ellie Shipley, a young art student, agrees to copy the 17th-century painting At the Edge of a Wood, her future becomes irrevocably entangled with Sara de Vos, the artist whose work she forged. Weaving together the past and present lives of Sara and Ellie and their two paintings, Smith brilliantly transports readers from 1950s New York, to the moody Dutch countryside of the 1600s, to Sydney, Australia’s sun-soaked harbor in 2000.” —amazon.com

Hear from the author!
A Conversation with the Author: Dominic Smith

Thursday, September 28, 6 p.m.
Join us for an evening of discussion with the author of summer’s selection! A book signing follows Dominic Smith’s talk about the inspiration behind The Last Painting of Sara de Vos. Learn more & get tickets.

How to Participate

Pick the approach that works best for you and your schedule.

Not already part of a book club? Here's how to partipate on your own!

  1. Read the book at your own pace! MFAH Book Club selections are sometimes available as audiobooks via services such as Audible, or through apps that use your public library card for free audio, such as Overdrive.
     
  2. Become a part of our Goodreads online discussion group. You can sign in with your Facebook account, or create your own Goodreads account. Discussion questions for the current book club pick are posted every other week, but feel free to pose questions of your own.
     
  3. Enhance your experience by visiting the Museum and taking a free drop-in tour related to the themes of the book. Drop-in tours related to The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: Thursday, August 17, 6 p.m. & Saturday, September 23, 12 noon

Part of a book club or other group of six or more people? Here's how to participate with your group!

Read the book. Most MFAH Book Club selections may be purchased at the MFA Shop, where Museum members receive a discount. Reading copies are also available in the Museum’s Kinder Foundation Education Center and at the Museum's Hirsch Library.

  1. Download the discussion guide to facilitate your conversation. This guide features questions about the book and select artworks on view at the MFAH.
    Download the Discussion Guide for “The Last Painting of Sara de Vos” 
     
  2. Request a docent-led tour by e-mailing bookclub@mfah.org—a minimum of 3 weeks in advance—with the following information:

    • The name of your group and number of participants
    • The primary organizer's name, telephone number, and e-mail address
    • Your preferred date and time for your tour (see below for tour availability)

    Tours related to The Last Painting of Sara de Vos are available between June 1 through September 30, 2017.

    Choose from the following days and times:

    Tuesdays, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.
    Wednesdays, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.
    Thursdays, 10:30 am, 3:30 p.m., or 6:30 p.m.
    Sundays, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.

    Note: If your group meets on a specfic day and/or time not listed above, please e-mail bookclub@mfah.org with a request, which we will try to accommodate.
  3. Look for a confirmation e-mail, within 5 business days, with information about when and where to meet the docent at the Museum.

Questions? E-mail bookclub@mfah.org

What to Expect on an MFAH Book Club Tour

• MFAH Book Club tours are free for MFAH members and free with general Museum admission for nonmembers.
• Tours last approximately 1½ hours.
• Camp stools are provided for seating.
• Docents facilitate tours, selecting several artworks on view at the Museum that they feel best connect with aspects of the featured book.
• Excerpts from the book are a vital component of these discussion-based tours, so we encourage you to bring your copy of the book along.
• Expect lively discussion of the book and artworks!
 

Past Selections


Since the MFAH Book Club's inception, the Museum has featured a wide range of fiction and nonfiction picks. Though tours are not offered for these past selections, discussion guides are available here.