Society

Storms Cannot Stop This Houston House Museum Party — Rienzi Makes Its Spring Fling Matter

Taking Inspiration From an 18th Century Palace in Mexico City

BY // 05.16.22
photography Wilson Parish

What: Rienzi Spring Party

Where: Rienzi, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston house museum for European Decorative Arts

PC Moment: Houston’s fickle weather threw organizers a curve ball as the appointed night for the al fresco event was a washout. Not to be deterred, the crew vowed that the show must go on and it did the following evening, even if it did conflict with some guests’ plans. Nevertheless, the turnout approached 150 and raised $133,000 for Rienzi’s operating budget.

This was very much a Masterson family affair as the house museum is the former residence of Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, who were noted for their collections of European paintings, furnishings, porcelain, silver and miniatures. The event was chaired by members of the Mariquita Masterson family — Catherine and George Masterson, Kathy and Harry Masterson, Libbie Masterson and Mark Sullivan, Tiffany and Charles Masterson, and Wylie and Stewart Masterson Jr. The Mastersons’ late father Stewart Masterson was a relative of Harris Masterson III.

Van Cleef & Arpels was a major player on this evening serving as corporate underwriter, providing a harpist to welcome guests, and presenting their jewels on lithesome models who paraded through the beautiful poolside dinner setting.

Top-Mark Sullivan; Kathy M; Harry M IV; Charles M; Mid-Libbie M; Mariquita M; George M; Tiffany M; Bottom-Stewart M, Jr.; Catherine M;By WP (Photo by Wilson Parish)
The Mariquita Masterson family at the Rienzi Spring Party (Photo by Wilson Parish)

Décor by Swift + Company took inspiration from Casa de los Azulejos or House of Tiles, an 18th century baroque palace in Mexico City, a city where Carroll Sterling Masterson spent many fond years in the 1940s and the influence of which lives on in Rienzi’s Mexican Room. Think cobalt blue and white linens in a rococo pattern, splashes of florals in green and white, and overhead lanterns and bistro lights.

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Swift + Company also provided the Mexican-inspired dinner buffet featuring chicken verde street tacos, fresh market corn salad, soufflé with sliced baguettes, heirloom tomato and avocado salad, and guava glazed pork tenderloin sandwiches.

PC Seen: Isla and Tommy Reckling, Mariquita Masterson, Rosslyn and Marshall Crawford, Carroll Goodman and John Wessels, Kathy and Marty Goossen, Celina Hellmund, Whitney Crane, Gillian Sarofim, Carmen and John Knapp, Nancy Littlejohn, Christina McConn, Cabrina and Steven Owsley, Nancy Littlejohn, Libba and Geer Blalock, Jane DiPaolo, and Kelly and Jim Higgason. 

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