You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

editorial

The Museum of Fine Arts: Malcolm Rogers, proprietor

Malcolm Rogers.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Malcolm Rogers.

Visiting the Museum of Fine Arts during Malcolm Rogers’s tenure has been like booking into a grand hotel with an impeccable manager. From the New England-themed cuisine in the cafe to the sound of his plummy voice on audio tours of major exhibitions, Rogers has seen to detail like a gently hovering host. He’s tickled to share his treasures, and he aims to please.

All Bostonians owe a debt of gratitude to Rogers, who last week announced plans to retire. His 19 years at the helm of the city’s premier museum coincided with its impressive growth. He reconnected the museum to the city — literally, by opening more entrances, and figuratively, by creating the spectacular Art of the Americas wing.

Continue reading below

Despite its broad title, the new space primarily focuses on the art of Boston, with especially loving attention to colonial portraitist John Singleton Copley and, a floor above, the great John Singer Sargent, who captured the Bostonians of the late 1800s. The expansion gave sharper definition to a museum that had previously been best known for its antiquities and told Boston’s story in a vivid new way: A trip to the Art of the Americas wing has become essential for visitors who hope to understand this city.

At times, Rogers has been accused of being a little too eager to please. While shows celebrating glass artist Dale Chihuly, celebrity photographer Mario Testino, and Edgar Degas’s nudes drew big crowds, a top-notch museum can do more to challenge conventional tastes and draw attention to underappreciated works. But that sounds like a job for Rogers’s successor. Every new regime is, after all, a comment on the one before it. And no director can match Rogers’s skills as a showman and master builder.

Loading comments...

Wake up with today's top stories.

Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
or
Please enter a valid email
BostonGlobe.com will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com