The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Fear and Wonder: Sublime Landscapes on Paper—Selections from the Museum’s Collection

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019 – Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019


Artists have long represented the simultaneously beautiful and terrifying elements of the natural world. In the 18th century, philosopher Edmund Burke wrote of the power of the sublime in nature as capable of filling the mind with astonishment accompanied by a degree of dread. To Burke, vast landscapes, scenes of great dimension, and even the presence of dangerous creatures activated feelings of fear and wonder that defined the sublime.

Today, the concept of the sublime remains a strong and fertile force in contemporary art with new and expanded definitions, including critiques of human ecological destruction. The prints and drawings in Fear and Wonder, drawn from the MFAH collection, showcase a range of sublime evocations.

Artists such as Dozier Bell and Robin Tichane depict expansive, melancholic landscapes, which complement the cosmic allusions of Dario Robleto and James Turrell. John Alexander and David Maxim recall the wild and deadly volatility of nature. Kermit Oliver and Nadezda Prvulovic reveal sublime potential in human-made structures.

Together, these works on paper suggest a persistent desire to seek places that elicit an encounter with the sublime, the experience of which can provoke an emotive and overwhelming response.

Fear and Wonder: Sublime Landscapes on Paper—Selections from the Museum’s Collection | February 12–August 4, 2019



  • Tuesday - Wednesday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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    Sunday, 12:15 pm - 7:00 pm
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  • Street Parking
  • Make visiting a snap! Visit mfah.org/parking for complete parking info, including a map you can download.

    Two Parking Garages        

    Parking Garage Hours

    Open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Parking Garage Fees

    • Parking payments may be made only with major credit cards, or with MasterCard and Visa debit cards.
    • The first 30 minutes are always free. On Thursday, parking is free for visitors who enter the Museum between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
    • For hourly rates, go to mfah.org/parking
    Recommendation for guests with limited mobility: Use the covered drop-off lane at the Main Street entrance to the Beck Building, or use wheelchair-accessible parking in the garage at 1144 Binz Street.

Special Offers / Dining

Paolo Fronza, from Fellini Caffè, runs this sophisticated dining operation. Enjoy an array of Italian-inspired fare with a Texas flair, a European-style coffee bar, a kids menu, and much more at the MFA Café, located on the lower level of the Beck Building.

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