The Museum’s collection of American art presents a lively overview of the story of art in the United States from the 18th century to 1940. The evolving American galleries showcase celebrated works from many periods, with highlights such as Frederic Church’s Cotopaxi and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Grey Lines with Black, Blue and Yellow.


Collecting Areas

The collection of 18th-century paintings, housed primarily at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, features an exquisite array of works from the Colonial and Federal periods. The collection comprises excellent examples by America’s great early artists, including John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, and Benjamin West.

A particular strength of the American collection is the small but choice group of 19th-century landscape paintings in the Hudson River School tradition, with major works by Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church, and Thomas Cole. Mid-19th-century American art is also well represented, with genre scenes and still-life paintings by artists such as Charles Deas, Eastman Johnson, and Severin Roesen. Key works of the late 19th century, by Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, Frederic Remington, John Singer Sargent, and others, show the range and vitality of American art as it continued to grow in stature on the world stage.

The 20th-century holdings include important paintings by George Bellows and Robert Henri, and the earliest Abstract movement in American art—Synchromism—is represented in key works by Patrick Henry Bruce, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, and Morgan Russell. Another area of strength is the work of E. Martin Hennings and Walter Ufer, members of the Taos Society Artists. Artists of the Alfred Stieglitz group include Elsie Driggs, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Helen Torr. The collection also features the work of Stuart Davis, and 1930s paintings with societal themes by Thomas Hart Benton and John Steuart Curry.

The collection of American sculpture complements the paintings. Highlights include Elie Nadelman’s Tango; 19th-century classical marbles by Hiram Powers and William Henry Rinehart; Beaux Arts bronzes by Frederick William MacMonnies; welded metal works by David Smith; and a limestone sculpture by self-taught artist William Edmondson.

Special Collections

The Hogg Brothers Collection

In the 1920s, Texas philanthropist William C. Hogg assembled a collection of artworks by Frederic S. Remington that Hogg’s sister, Ima Hogg, gave to the MFAH in 1943. This early crusade to collect Remington’s work helped revive national interest in the artist, and today the Museum’s collection is internationally recognized.

Wintermann Collection of American Art

In 1985, Mr. and Mrs. David R. Wintermann gave the MFAH more than 50 American paintings that date from 1880 to 1925, helping to fill important gaps in the Museum’s collection at the time.

Exhibitions

For information about past MFAH exhibitions, search the exhibitions archive database.

Publications

  • American Adversaries: West and Copley in a Transatlantic World
  • American Art and Philanthropy: Twenty Years of Collecting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
  • Frederic Remington: The Hogg Brothers Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
  • John Singleton Copley in England
  • The Modern West: American Landscapes: 1890–1950

Patron Group

American Art and Wine
Members of American Art and Wine visit local private collections of American art while enjoying fine wines selected to match the works on view. The group is also invited to exclusive, behind-the-scenes tours of major exhibitions of American art at the MFAH led by specialists in the field.
Join American Art and Wine

The MFAH Collections

To explore all of the Museum’s works of art, search the collection.