Trip Planner USA  /  Texas  /  Texas Gulf Coast  /  Houston  /  Religious Sites  /  Rothko Chapel

Rothko Chapel, Houston

Categories: Sacred & Religious Sites, Art Museums, Museums, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
3.3/5 based on 240+ reviews on the web
The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominational chapel in Houston, Texas, founded by John and Dominique de Menil. The interior serves not only as a chapel, but also as a major work of modern art. On its walls are fourteen black but color hued paintings by Mark Rothko. The shape of the building, an octagon inscribed in a Greek cross, and the design of the chapel was largely influenced by the artist.Susan J. Barnes states "The Rothko Chapel...became the world's first broadly ecumenical center, a holy place open to all religions and belonging to none. It became a center for international cultural, religious, and philosophical exchanges, for colloquia and performances. And it became a place of private prayer for individuals of all faiths"On September 16, 2000, the Rothko Chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.HistoryIn 1964 Rothko was commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil to create a meditative space filled with his paintings. The works are site-specific, one of the requirements of the program. As Rothko was given creative license on the design of the structure, he clashed with the project's original architect, Philip Johnson over the plans for the chapel. The plans went through several revisions and architects. Rothko continued to work first with Howard Barnstone and then with Eugene Aubry, but ultimately he did not live to see the chapel's completion in 1971. After a long struggle with depression, Rothko committed suicide in his New York studio on February 25, 1970.
Put Rothko Chapel into our Houston family vacation planner and find out what's close by, where to stay, and where to head next.
Create a full itinerary - for free!
going to
read all reviews »
  • What should I write. The chapel of the stool blew me. From outside, absolutely nothing special! Unfortunately it was closed! Conclusion: we do without it!
    show original
  • If you love art, appreciate Rothko, are a spiritual person, or enjoy seeing unusual art installations, this is a must-see in Houston's Montrose area. The chapel itself features the Rothko panel instal...  read more »
  • Well, it does depend on whether you like the building. I always enjoy going there, especially if there's nobody else, but the guard can be a bit disturbing. 
  • I absolutely fell in love the minute I walked. The Rothko chapel is great place to meditate - the ambience of the large room paired with the art pieces on the wall couldn't be any better. I only wish we had something along the lines of the chapel in Los Angeles!
  • We went on a rainy, overcast day and because all of the lighting is reflected natural light, the room was very dim. We sat for quite a while in silence, a time I had been looking forward to, but instead of any sense of the spiritual I felt an increasing emptiness that became unsettling. We eventually walked the perimeter of the room to examine the paintings more closely, and while I can appreciate and marvel at the scale of the work and the subtlety of color and form each painting represents, both the room and the work felt severe and unwelcoming. It would be interesting to learn if my response to the Chapel varies on a brighter day, but after this visit I just felt like I was straining to see and feel something that wasn't there.
  • The Rothko Chapel is a beautiful, moving space if you allow it to be. Spend some time with the silence and your own thoughts. Contrary to what other reviewers have said, this space was always meant as a chapel/ sacred space and Rothko painted the works and designed the space with that in mind. The chapel was consecrated by the three Abrahamic faiths and therefore constitutes a sacred space. This place is amazing for Rothko enthusiasts and people looking for quiet contemplation.
  • While I understand why others appreciate the quiet solitude and tranquility of this place, to me there was no joy inside, only emptiness. Perhaps I've leaned too far in the direction of silence and introspection, sitting alone in my home out in the country reading books while the snow falls and being away from people. The minute I sat down on a bench inside, I wanted to leave. This chapel was a wake up call for me to rejoin the world as a creative individual, to get outside and play, to make my own art and joy. 4 stars for the yard outside where I watched birds and squirrels playing in the sun. If you are overwhelmed by the noise of the city and would like to find somewhere to read and meditate without distraction, this is an incredibly peaceful place worth checking out. It just wasn't for me.
  • I was in Houston for a month and was looking for museums to visit. I had never heard of the Rothko Chapel, but I'm a big admirer of his works and seek them out when I get a chance. I'm neither religious nor spiritual, but I was moved nearly to tears by this space. It was a rainy day so the lighting was very dim, and the combination of silence, the severe concrete shapes, and the beautiful paintings really spoke to me. I know Rothko isn't to everyone's taste, but I thought this chapel was incredible.
Nearby Attractions
Visit for 2​h 30​m
Visit for 4​h
Visit for 2​h
Visit for 4​h
Visit for 3​h