While Paris has its Louvre and New York the Guggenheim, Houston is home to the monumental Menil Collection—another global destination for art aficionados. Within three galleries, located on a 30-acre campus, the assemblage comprises roughly 17,000 works—a combination of acquisitions from the late John and Dominique de Menil as well as pieces curated by their eponymous foundation.
The main museum (designed by Renzo Piano) houses original expressions from 20th-century masters such as Henri Matisse, René Magritte, and Pablo Picasso alongside more contemporary creatives. Those with a taste toward antiquities will be sated by Byzantine and Medieval presentations paired with a diverse display from disparate cultures through the ages.
In addition, two ancillary buildings highlight the art of Cy Twombly and Dan Flavin, respectively, while a third structure dedicated to drawing will be opened next October.
“A lot of people come to Houston simply to see the Menil Collection,” says Smith. “And it’s always free to the public.” For a more singular experience, guests of the Four Seasons Hotel Houston can arrange to be given a private tour. (menil.org)