Beginning of main content

Menil Collection

Works by Salvador Dali and Max Ernst sit alongside Byzantine treasures in this extraordinary private art collection.

The Menil Collection is a private collection of priceless artworks owned by wealthy local family, the de Menils. There are more than 16,000 paintings, decorative pieces, photographs, sculptures and drawings in this downtown museum. 

John and Dominique de Menil were passionate about art. They began collecting in the 1940s. Works by some of the world’s greats such as Man Ray, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso are among their collection, as well as antiquities. The museum displays a selection of some of the best works, alongside temporary exhibitions from all over the world. 

After her husband’s death in 1973, Dominique de Menil worked with prize-winning Italian architect Renzo Piano (responsible for the famous Pompidou Center in Paris) to design a museum almost as incredible as the collection itself. The ceiling is a wave-shaped “leaf” with steel trusses, a design that allows the gallery to be filled with natural light. Large glass windows, timber floors and indoor gardens create a natural setting.

The de Menils believed art should be an important part of everyone’s life, not just the wealthy, and for this reason entry to the museum is free. They were also firm believers that an individual’s opinion of art shouldn’t be influenced by others, so you won’t find explanatory texts on the walls, tours or audio guides. Many will find the focus on aesthetics and quiet contemplation refreshing. Pick up a book or brochure from the museum’s bookstore if you would like to find out more about the art. 

The de Menil Foundation owns several blocks of the surrounding tree-lined neighborhood, and modern sculptures dot the landscape. It’s worth checking out the Cy Twombly Gallery and Richmond Hall for interesting art exhibitions, as well as the Rothko Chapel and Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum, built by the de Menil’s as spiritual sanctuaries.

The Menil Collection is open Wednesday through Sunday. Parking and admission are free.


Trip Type
Flight 1
Flight 2
Flight 3
Flight 4
Flight 5
Map

Lodging Near Menil Collection

See all 389 Hotels near Menil Collection
$230
Hotel Zaza Houston Museum District

Hotel Zaza Houston Museum District

5701 Main Street, Houston
4.5
of 5, from 1,415 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This Houston boutique hotel lies in the Arts District within walking distance of numerous museums; the Texas Medical Center and Rice University are 1 mile away, the Galleria shopping mall is 6 miles away and connected via a complimentary shuttle. The Reliant Park, the Reliant Stadium and Downtown Houston are also within easy reach.

HI Houston: The Morty Rich Hostel

HI Houston: The Morty Rich Hostel

501 Lovett Boulevard, Houston
4.4
of 5, from 69 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Located in Westheimer Rd, this eco-friendly hostel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston and Menil Collection. Houston Natural Science Museum and Children's Museum of Houston are also within 2 mi (3 km).

Loft in Houston's Historical, Artistic, Culinary Heart Close to Reliant Stadium

Loft in Houston's Historical, Artistic, Culinary Heart Close to Reliant Stadium

1717 Haver St, Houston
5.0
of 5, from 3 reviews
0.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Houston, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Rothko Chapel and Menil Collection. Houston Zoo and Houston Natural Science Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).

Close to Downtown, Great Restaurants, Wine Bars, Universities and Med Center

Close to Downtown, Great Restaurants, Wine Bars, Universities and Med Center

1719 Harold St, Houston
4.4
of 5, from 15 reviews
0.0 out of 5.0

Located in Westheimer Rd, this property is within 1 mi (2 km) of Rothko Chapel and Menil Collection. Houston Zoo and Children's Museum of Houston are also within 3 mi (5 km).

2/2 1700 Sqft Unit on Great Block in Montrose . Accommodates up to 6 Guests

2/2 1700 Sqft Unit on Great Block in Montrose . Accommodates up to 6 Guests

1811 Marshall St, Houston
0.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Houston, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Rothko Chapel and Menil Collection. Houston Zoo and Children's Museum of Houston are also within 3 mi (5 km).

Cute & Comfy Apartment Blocks From Westheimer and Montrose

Cute & Comfy Apartment Blocks From Westheimer and Montrose

1716 Fairview St, Houston
0.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Houston, this property is within 1 mi (2 km) of Rothko Chapel and Menil Collection. Houston Zoo and Discovery Green are also within 3 mi (5 km).

Rice / Museum District Retreat ~ $75 ~ Private 1br/1ba in 2br/2ba Condo ~ Shared

Rice / Museum District Retreat ~ $75 ~ Private 1br/1ba in 2br/2ba Condo ~ Shared

5003 Mt Vernon St, Houston
0.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Houston, this condo is within a 15-minute walk of Houston Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston Natural Science Museum, and Children's Museum of Houston. Houston Zoo and Menil Collection are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$68
Americas Best Value Inn-Medical Center Downtown

Americas Best Value Inn-Medical Center Downtown

2419 Riverside Dr, Houston
3.3
of 5, from 762 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Houston, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and Children's Museum of Houston. Houston Zoo and Houston Natural Science Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km).