Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
(MFA), was honored as a knight-commander in the Order of Isabella the Catholic (Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel la Católica) this evening at a special ceremony at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. The recognition, one of Spains highest civil honors, was bestowed on behalf of His Royal Highness King Juan Carlos I of Spain by Plácido Arango, president of the Royal Board of Trustees at the Prado. Guests at the ceremony include The Honorable Alan D. Solomont and Susan Solomont Ambassador and the Director of the Prado, Miguel Zugaza.
Created in 1815, the award recognizes those who have demonstrated extraordinary civil character and accomplishments that have benefited Spain, notably in the field of culture and the arts. The MFA, Boston, has had a long and fruitful relationship with the Prado and other cultural institutions in Spain, which has resulted in the exchange of numerous works of art across the Atlantic. The MFA is currently lending one of its greatest masterpiece paintings, John Singer Sargents The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882) to the Prado, where it is on view from March 16 through May 30 as part of the prestigious series The Invited Work. Rogers is in Madrid to attend the opening of the installation, which juxtaposes the MFAs celebrated portrait with the Prados masterpiece Las Meninas (ca. 1656) by Diego Velázquez to illustrate how Sargent drew inspiration from the iconic Spanish painting.
Through the years, the MFA has celebrated the magnificent artistry of Spain with a variety of exhibitions. Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life, currently on view at the MFA through May 9, is a sumptuous showcase of works (many drawn from the Prado) by 18th-century Spains greatest master of the still life. (The exhibitions opening in Boston was attended by His Excellency Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo, Ambassador of Spain to the United States, and the Honorable Carlos Robles, Consul General of Spain in Boston.) In 2008, the MFA also presented two Spanish-themed exhibitions, El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III, which highlighted paintings by the great Spanish masters of the 17th century and included works from the Prado, and Antonio López García, which offeredfor the first time at an American museuma retrospective of contemporary realist Antonio López García. Among the dignitaries attending the opening of these two exhibitions in 2008 were Her Royal Highness Doña Cristina de Borbón, Infanta of Spain; His Excellency Don Iñaki Urdangarín, Duke of Palma; artist Antonio López García; His Excellency, D. Carlos Westendorp y Cabeza, Ambassador of Spain to the United States; and the late Senator Edward Kennedy and Mrs. Victoria Kennedy. In 2012, the MFA will present a major exhibition on the great Spanish artist Francisco Goya (April 15 through August 5).
Since becoming Director of the MFA in 1994, Rogers mission has included sharing the Museums encyclopedic collection with the world, welcoming new and diverse audiences to the MFA, and enhancing arts education programs. Approximately one million people visit the Museum each year and are exposed to infinite possibilities for inspiration. Rogers also has embarked on a visionary building expansion and renovation at the Museum, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Foster + Partners (London). The project includes a new Art of the Americas Wing and the Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard, which will open in November, as well as new galleries, educational spaces, conservation labs, and visitor center.
Prior to his arrival at the MFA, Rogers served as Deputy Director (from 1983) and Deputy Keeper (from 1985) at the National Portrait Gallery, London. He is an authority on 16th-, 17th-, and early 18th-century portraits, and has written on Van Dycks English period. Rogers also is the recipient of several awards marking his significant contribution to furthering the arts and letters in the United States and abroad, among them, Commander, Order of the British Empire (CBE), presented by HM The Queen (2003); Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters), accorded by the Republic of France (2007); and Commendatore al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (Commander of the Order to the Merit of the Italian Republic), presented in the name of the President of the Italian Republic (2009).