A Solitary Journey between You and the Universe
Completed in 1971, the chapel, Rothko’s paintings and its famous courtyard sculpture, Broken Obelisk, have achieved worldwide renown. While the structure often functions as a chapel and meeting place and has even hosted some important forums, most of its time is devoted to the meditations of its visitors.
As he matured, Mr. Rothko’s work devolved from portraits, mythological subjects and other renderings into rectangular fields of color. Critics are divided on whether his final pieces, displayed at the Chapel, are the sublime culmination of his artistic journey or the absolute destruction of it. In either case, the paintings, were the final artistic statements created by Mr. Rothko.
The artwork in the chapel consists of three tryptychs and five additional paintings arranged around a central area with light from a single, overhead cupola. The paintings are quite large and are essentially monochromes with colors varying from deep brown to almost pure black. The effect is quite astounding although the viewer must bring something of themselves to the table to experience the full effect.
Mark Rothko spent the last six years of his life perfecting both the Chapel and the paintings intended for it. He even recreated the intended lighting for the chapel in his New York studio. Interestingly, Mr. Rothko applied almost none of the paint to the paintings preferring to let his assistants perform that task. Perhaps, this act was a foreshadowing of his growing impatience with the practical and his fascination with the spiritual and the transcendent.
The Rothko Chapel:
- 3900 Yupon @ Sul Ross, Houston, TX, 77006
- 10am – 6pm, Every day of the year (except during public programs and private services)
For other great things to do in Houston, check out, 5 Places that I Love to Visit in Houston