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ROTHKO CHAPEL

 
The Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas has been on my must-see list for many years.  Last Friday my husband and I had the opportunity to visit this sacred space for the first time.

Excerpts from the Chapel brochure:
Conceived and founded by art collectors and philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, the Rothko Chapel was formally dedicated in 1971 as an ecumenical sanctuary by leaders from the world's religious traditions.  The tranquil, park-like grounds contain an octagonal Chapel that houses fourteen masterpieces by American painter Mark Rothko and a public plaza where American artist Barnett Newman's colossal Broken Obelisk sculpture rises from a large, rectangular reflecting pool.
The history of the Chapel dates to 1964, when the de Menils commissioned the noted painter Mark Rothko.
Rothko had long yearned for the opportunity to create a total art space, to shape a complete environment where his paintings would be seamlessly integrated into the structure and purpose of the space that housed them.  The Rothko Chapel commission granted the artist the unique freedom to create such an environment.  Rothko worked closely with the architect Philip Johnson and then with Houston architects Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry.  The resulting suite of majestic paintings of deep velvety blacks and purples successfully cultivate the spiritual qualities envisioned by the de Menils- reverence, intimacy and timelessness.
 

 
Mark Rothko, No. 8, Black Form Paintings

Dominique de Menil:
"The Rothko Chapel is oriented toward the sacred and yet it imposes no traditional environment.  If offers a place where a common orientation could be found- an orientation towards God, named or unnamed, an orientation towards the highest aspirations of Man and the most intimate calls of the conscience."
Rothko Chapel

 
At the Chapel grounds...
Barnett Newman, Broken Obelisk, 1963

Photos are mine except those linked to source.

8 comments:

Kesha Bruce: said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kesha Bruce: said...

Wow, I must have been sick a day and missed this lecture in Art History class because I've never seen photos of this place.

Fantastic! Thanks for posting the pics.

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

Kesha,
I don't remember whether we studied it in my art history classes; I think I found out about the Chapel later because of my interest in Rothko's life and work.
If you get a chance, go see it! Unfortunately, I could not find photos online of all fourteen paintings (and no photos allowed inside). It's a must-see place for admirers of Rothko's work.

Pete Hoge said...

I like his idea of having a
totally unified space in
terms of images/paintings
and architecture.

david weir art said...

Would be awesome,to see.
great Post

Elizabeth Sheppell said...

It's on my list of things to see and do. Great post!

Prêt à Porter P said...

The Broken Obelisk piece is amazing

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

Pret,
Thanks for the comment! I was honored to finally see Broken Obelisk in person- a moving experience.