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  • Bayou Bend Collection and GardensBayou Bend Collections & Gardens Houston, Texas
    Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is found in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, Texas, sitting 14 wonderfully landscaped acres that is part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, containing a marvelous collection of decorative arts, furniture and paintings that was constructed in 1927 and 1928 for Ima Hogg. It was made a Texas Historical Commission in 1973 and then listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The splendid mansion was designed by architect John F. Staub for Ima and her brothers, William C. and Michael Hogg with towering trees and thick undergrowth, and the first house in the neighborhood that would be developed by the brothers. Ima wanted all the trees to stay so the construction of the house only caused one tree to be taken out and the magnificent gardens were built around them. Ima was the one to name the estate, although William didn't like it too much, stating the name was too muddy and musketry and malarial for the magnificent estate, but Ima said that not everyone could have their own bayou. She began to create a massive garden on the property, actually trying to make rooms for living and entertaining, and in 1957 donated the estate to the Museum of Fine Arts, with it opening to the public in 1966. The designer had planned on combining the 18th century Georgian architecture with various elements that were both southern and Spanish Creole, with a few borrowed from southern plantations. The interior was designed along the lines of northern mansions, using flooring and paneling from two 18th century Massachusetts houses for her sitting and bedroom. In 1999, the city named it an official city landmark; with eight formal gardens set on the 14 acres that is located along Buffalo Bayou, and three of the gardens were named after a goddess or muse, called Eutrupe, Diana and Clio. The names of the other gardens were Carla, White, Butterfly and East. The fabulous collection housed here includes about 4700 items that showcase the stylistic and historic eras from 1620 to 1870 that have been installed in 28 period rooms that feature American decorative arts from 1620 to 1870, which Ima began collecting in 1920.

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  • The Rothko Chapel
    The Rothko Chapel was constructed in 1971, which was an interfaith chapel that had been commissioned by the de Menils, and the unique entrance contains holy books that have been installed here from numerous religious traditions that could be used in the chapel. The interior is sky-lit, with kneeling mats, meditation cushions and prayer benches, with the walls covered by a few big paintings. Just to the south of this entry is a gorgeous reflecting pool that contains a marvelous sculpture called Broken Obelisk and created by Barnett Newman; put here in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. The antiquities collection houses many hundreds of artworks from the Paleolithic period to the pre-Christian eras, mostly from Europe and the near East. Their Cycladic collection is considered small but outstanding and one of the best in the nation with the oldest works from the Paleolithic period to the early hunter-gatherer cultures that lived around 22,000 to 15,000 BC. The Greco-Roman works hold numerous examples of the classical period, pre-and post-classical cultures from the bronze age in Asia Minor and archaic Greece.

February 15, 2011