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The Life of Ima Hogg: The Collector

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Ima Hogg in her young adult years

"From the time I acquired my first Queen Anne armchair in 1920, I had an unaccountable compulsion to make an American collection for some Texas museum."

In 1920, while sitting for a portrait in the New York studio of Wayman Adams, Miss Hogg admired a simple armchair belonging to the artist. Surprised to learn that it was made in colonial America, she soon obtained a similar Queen Anne chair for herself. Miss Hogg's lifetime of collecting had begun. Almost half a century later, the tenacious collector acquired the very same chair that she had first seen in Adam's studio.

When she began building her collection, Miss Hogg was at the very forefront of an interest in American antiques that would soon become a national pastime. There was no permanent museum display of American furniture until 1924, when the American wing of the Metropolitan Museum opened in New York. And, with her characteristic foresight, Miss Hogg was building a decorative arts collection for a Texas museum at a time when there was no art museum in Texas. Miss Hogg's "unaccountable compulsion" eventually resulted in one of the nation's finest collections of American decorative arts from the period 1640 to 1870. The Bayou Bend Collection offers a rich overview of the history of American decorative arts, but it is also a reflection of Miss Hogg's own impeccable style.

Miss Hogg's collecting impulse was not limited to American antiques. In 1929 she began building the first major art collection in Houston. She acquired works on paper by German Expressionists and other twentieth-century masters, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Paul Klee; works by Russian avant-garde artists of the twentieth century; and pottery and artifacts made by the Native American tribes of the Southwest. Miss Hogg donated all of these collections-along with her brother Will's extensive collection of works by the Western painter Frederic Remington- to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.



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