The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Design Reformation in Europe, 1845–1915: Selections from the Museum’s Collection

Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 – Sunday, Apr. 29, 2018


The Design Reformation in Europe explores the design industry and its changing relationship to European artists, manufacturers, and consumers during the 19th century.

New production methods arising from the Industrial Revolution led to a debate on the relationship between design and industry. Artists and designers grappled with the modern world, ultimately reforming the very nature of design. This exhibition addresses the shifts in philosophy through selections of furniture, metalwork, ceramics, wallpaper, and other decorative arts from the MFAH collections.

Industrialization brought new machines that could create a variety of objects to satisfy the needs of an affluent middle class. The use of ornament on these items—often considered illusionistic, referential, and indiscriminate—resulted in a discussion about the aesthetics and even the morality of how things looked. The belief that good, moral design could come only from a good and moral society led the Arts and Crafts movement to look for inspiration from historical English sources.

Designers and theorists began to emphasize the importance of and pleasure in the very act of making things. Arts and Crafts designs relied on simple forms, ornament derived from nature, and familiar traditions and techniques. The Design Reformation in Europe addresses these ideas and their influence over artists in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, and throughout the continent.


  • Tuesday - Wednesday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Thursday, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Friday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
    Sunday, 12:15 pm - 7:00 pm
    Monday: Closed (Except Monday Holidays). Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
  • General Admission

    • MFAH Members FREE
    • Adults $15
    • Seniors (65+ with ID) $10
    • Military (with ID) $10
    • College Students (19+ with ID) $7.50
    • Youth (13–18) $7.50
    • Children (12 & younger) FREE
    • Certain special exhibitions are ticketed, with an additional charge.
    On Thursday, general admission is free for everyone.

Directions & Parking

  • Free Parking
  • Paid Parking
  • 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.

Events at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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