The MFAH: Two Collections Reimagined

TWO THURSDAYS, APRIL 6 AND 13, 10:00–11:30 A.M.


Explore the newly reinstalled galleries of European art and the recent installation of the design collection with the experts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). The MFAH’s major reinstallation of its European collections displays the works in fuller conversation with the history, culture, and faith of their times and includes items from the permanent collection that have rarely been on view. The MFAH’s new galleries for decorative arts, craft, and design showcase one-of-a-kind masterpieces, as well as iconic modern and contemporary craft and design objects, and contain many works by international artists and designers not previously on display.

April 6: Curators Christine Gervais and James Anno will guide us through the collection of European art featuring paintings, works on paper, tapestries, sculpture, liturgical objects, and decorative arts. The curators will explain the museology behind the installation and how they interacted with the architecture of the Beck Building to create the presentation in the eleven galleries.

April 13: The second session focuses on the decorative arts, craft, and design collection. Curator Cindi Strauss will walk us through the new galleries in the Kinder Building, which were purposely built to highlight the creativity of handcrafted and industrially produced objects comprising furniture, tableware, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and other objects made from a wide variety of materials.

Christine Gervais is The Fredricka Crain Director of Rienzi and Curator for Decorative Arts at the MFAH. She has curated a variety of exhibitions including English Taste: The Art of Dining in the Eighteenth Century, Pattern Repeat: Wallpaper Then and Now, and the major touring show Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House. Ms. Gervais holds a B.A. in History from Trinity University, an M.A. in American Studies from George Washington University, and an M.Phil. with distinction in the History of Art from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

A specialist of Renaissance and Baroque art, James Anno serves as Associate Curator of European art at the MFAH. Among the exhibitions he has curated are Flesh & Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum, Glory of Spain: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, and New Light on Old Masters: European Art from Houston Collections, 1300-1700 with Christine Gervais. Dr. Anno received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Cindi Strauss is the Sara and Bill Morgan Curator of Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design and Assistant Director, Programming at the MFAH where she is responsible for the acquisition, research, publication, and exhibition of post-1900 decorative arts, design, and craft. Ms. Strauss has authored or contributed to catalogues and journals on decorative arts and design topics and has been a frequent lecturer at museums nationwide. Her recent exhibitions are Radical: Italian Design 1965-1985, The Dennis Freedman Collection and Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting. Ms. Strauss received her B.A. with honors in art history from Hamilton College and her M.A. in the history of decorative arts from the Cooper-Hewitt/Parsons School of Design.

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