Cover image for Masterworks of European painting in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Masterworks of European painting in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Publication Information:
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2000.
Physical Description:
xvii, 235 pages : color illustrations ; 32 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND450 .M793 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Published to coincide with the opening of the Audrey Jones Beck building in March of 2000, this lavishly illustrated catalogue--the first single volume dedicated to this extraordinary collection--features one hundred of the most important European paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The works, which range in date from the early Renaissance to the beginning of the twentieth century, are all handsomely featured as full-page color plates. The accompanying text is highly accessible, providing interesting insights into the artists' lives and explaining--in general terms--the stylistic evolution of the history of European painting. Furthermore, important new research on unpublished works has been incorporated into the entries.

The European painting collection of the Museum of Fine Arts has grown tremendously over the past fifty years through the generosity of major donors and patrons. The 1944 bequest by Edith A. and Percy S. Straus forms the foundation of the permanent collection, including works by such well-known Italian and Northern Renaissance artists as Fra Angelico, Rogier van der Weyden, and Hans Memling. The next milestone was the acquisition of the Robert Lee Blaffer Memorial Collection, which comprises splendid pictures spanning many centuries, such as major works by Giovanni di Paolo, Frans Hals, Canaletto, Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas. Purchases and gifts, including substantial donations from Samuel H. Kress and the Kress Foundation from the 1930s through the 1960s, further strengthened the holdings of Renaissance and Baroque pictures with exceptional works such as Sebastiano del Piombo's Portrait of Anton Francesco degli Albizzi and Orazio Gentileschi's Portrait of a Young Woman as a Sibyl. The renowned John A. and Audrey Jones Beck Collection includes a significant number of important Impressionist and modern paintings, represented herein with works by Edouard Manet, Gustave Caillebotte, Mary Cassatt, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Signac, Georges Braque, and Vassily Kandinsky. Represented as well are some of the museum's most important recent acquisitions, such as Still Life with Golden Bream , a stunning canvas by Francisco de Goya, and Still Life of Flowers and Fruit , a ravishing work by Jan van Huysum.

With beautiful reproductions and informative commentary, Masterworks of European Painting will be of great appeal to art lovers and scholars alike.

Author Notes

Edgar Peters Bowron is the Audrey Jones Beck Curator of European Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He has published widely and contributed to many major exhibition catalogues, including The Glory of Venice, The Triumph of the Baroque , and Art in Eighteenth-Century Rome.
Mary G. Morton is Assistant Curator of European Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Published to coincide with the opening of the 200,000-square foot, Rafael Moneo-designed Beck Building at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, curators Bowron and Morton's Masterworks begins with a brief history of the museum and its European paintings, focusing on the gifts of whole collections--Staus, Kress, Blaffer, and Beck--that have formed the core of the museum's holdings. This introduction is followed by a chronological catalog of collection highlights, ranging from a trecento Sienese Madonna to a Mondrian of 1918. The exceptionally good catalog entries are comprehensive and well balanced, with a wealth of information not only about specific paintings but also about European art in general. Iconography, artist biographies, cultural and art historical contexts, critical receptions, and the history of taste are all discussed. Bravo to the museum for the light-filled Beck Building, which now houses the European collection, and for this superb, beautifully illustrated handbook. Highly recommended. All levels. E. M. Lee; University of Oklahoma

Table of Contents

An Introduction to the European Paintings Collection
Edgar Peters Bowronp. vii
Masterworks of European Painting
Edgar Peters Bowron and Mary G. Mortonp. 2
Referencesp. 225
Index of Masterworks Artistsp. 235