Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bayou Bend Estate

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Bayou Bend: A Unique Collection of Americana

The Bayou Bend Collection is one of the nation's foremost assemblages of American decorative arts dating from 1620 through 1870. Not only are the objects in the collection fine examples of American design and craftsmanship, but they also reflect the tastes, values, and aspirations of ordinary Americans.

Bayou Bend, the magnificent home of Miss Ima Hogg, is the extraordinary legacy of a remarkable woman. Best known for her superb collection of American decorative arts, Miss Hogg was also largely responsible for Bayou Bend's innovative architecture and breathtaking gardens.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens consists of Miss Hogg’s historic treasure house, 14 acres of formal and wooded gardens, and the new Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center.

The house, designed by prominent architect John F. Staub, was built between 1927 and 1928 for Miss Hogg and her brothers, William C. and Michael Hogg. Covered in towering trees and thick undergrowth, the site was, in Miss Hogg's words, "nothing but a dense thicket." Undaunted, she created a series of gracious and beautiful gardens that were intended as outdoor rooms for living and entertaining, not just views to be admired from within the house. But Miss Hogg was also appreciative of the wilder side of nature, and she always intended that the surrounding woodlands remain more or less natural, as they are today. In 1957 Miss Hogg donated her home and her collection to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Bayou Bend opened to the public in 1966 and stands as one of Houston's cultural treasures. The collection at Bayou Bend presently contains several thousand objects installed in some 28 period room settings that showcase American decorative arts from 1620 through 1870. The Kilroy Visitor Center opened in September 2010.