Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, presents special exhibitions twice a year. Extravagant Objects: Jewelry and Objets d’Art from the Masterson Collection features a dazzling array that reflects the eclectic tastes of Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, the former owners of Rienzi.
For centuries, jewelry and objets d’art—luxurious objects made of precious and exotic materials—have been sought after by royals, aristocrats, and the affluent to demonstrate status, wealth, power, and taste.
From small, personal, functional objects to bejeweled adornments and extravagant sculptures meant simply to delight the eye, these creations showcase the artistic vision and innovations of their time. The objects’ forms and functions, and the elaborate decoration, illustrate changes in social customs and artistic development over three centuries: the 18th to 20th. Extravagant Objects features examples by the House of Fabergé, Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, and David Webb, among others.