The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has contributed more than 10,000 additional images of their global permanent collection to the Artstor Digital Library, bringing their total to over 15,500.*

The existing selection from Houston in Artstor offers a comprehensive view and highlights the collection, encompassing diverse curatorial areas, including ancient Egyptian sculpture, Japanese earthenware, Renaissance painting, American colonial silver, film, and contemporary design. The new contribution is notable for its extensive coverage of the museum’s distinctive collection of photography.

Founded in 1976, the photography department holds more than 30,000 works representing about 4,000 artists through time and across continents. The additional selections in Artstor represent both the historic content of the museum’s collection and the impetus to promote contemporary and international photographers. The wealth and scope of the collection are exemplified by comparisons of some of the historic images in Artstor. Consider two landmarks of national significance as they were captured by the lenses of very different masters: The Eiffel Tower Being Struck by Lightning, 1902, by the French pioneering photographer Gabriel Loppé, a technical feat for its time since it froze a dynamic atmospheric phenomenon; and the Cap of the Liberty, 1872, where the visiting Englishman Eadweard Muybridge fixed on a monumental American peak.

The tradition of travel photography is characterized by two views of one of the world’s most represented sites: the Piazzetta san Marco, Venice, c. 1865, by the pioneering photographer Carlo Naya, who made his city his main subject, and San Marco, Venice XX: December 3, 2005, by contemporary German photographer Vera Lutter, a negative image taken 140 years later and printed on a diptych nearly 10 feet high (above).

The still life takes the classic painterly form of a flower piece in Charles Aubry’s Dahlias of 1864, while it breaks bold new ground in a Rayograph by Man Ray, 1925. An extraordinary rendering of Robinson Crusoe, c. 1856 by William Lake Price presents a theatrical and fantasy-filled tableau vivant, while May-Day, 1927, by the Soviet photographer Boris Ignatovich records the jubilant celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Russian Revolution on the streets of Moscow.

Established in 1900, the MFAH is the largest cultural institution in the southwest region and the oldest art museum in Texas, with an encyclopedic permanent collection of more than 65,000 works and a vibrant exhibitions program.

The Museum’s main campus, anchored by its original Neoclassical home designed by William Ward Watkin in 1924, is located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, and currently comprises gallery buildings, two art schools, a sculpture garden and two nearby house museums. The dynamic campus has been enhanced and enlarged by the designs of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Isamu Noguchi, and Rafael Moneo, with further expansions planned by Steven Holl Architects and Lake|Flato Architects.

With more than 12 curatorial areas, the diverse collections of the MFAH cover world cultures dating from antiquity to the present and include in-depth holdings of American art, European paintings, pre-Columbian and African gold, decorative arts and design, photography, prints and drawings, Modern and Contemporary painting and sculpture, and Latin American art. The MFAH is also home to the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), a leading research institute for 20th-century Latin American and Latino art.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston collection is being released as part of a thematic launch on major North American museums that includes selections from the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Cincinnati Art Museum; the Museo de Arte de Ponce; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Norton Simon Museum; the Philadelphia Art Museum; and the Seattle Art Museum.

View the collection in the Artstor Digital Library or learn more at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston collection page.

*Image totals may vary from country to country, reflecting Artstor’s obligation to address the specifics of international copyright.