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Portals & Passages: Works by Robert Freeman & Max Stern

In the new exhibition, Portals & Passages, which runs from March 14 through May 19, at Childs Gallery, Robert Freeman and photographer Max Stern explore the possibilities of liminal space. Both artists depict images sited on the threshold: windows, doorways, tunnels, tree-lined passages, and other found openings.

Robert Freeman's paintings explore the darker side of this experience. Inspired by a recent trip to Ghana, where he spent part of his childhood, Freeman's paintings depict the slave castles at Elmina and Cape Coast. For more information on the gallery show and the opening reception on Thursday, March 14, from 6:00–8:00 pm, see our “Portals & Passages” email.

Robert Freeman At the Movies!

American Fiction, the highly acclaimed new film, features Robert Freeman’s paintings. The comedy-drama was named one of the top 10 films of 2023 by the American Film Institute and has received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor, and two Golden Globe nominations.

For more details on how the film’s Production Designer and Set Decorator felt Robert Freeman’s paintings were instrumental in creating a realistic atmosphere, and setting the mood for the film’s characters, see our “At the Movies” email. There you will find a link to the behind-the-scenes documentary, “Inside the Set | American Fiction”, which showcases the paintings used in the film.

Robert Freeman's "Black Tie" at the State House

Robert Freeman’s artwork has long been featured in museums, galleries, and the homes of distinguished collectors. As of today, it is being displayed in Governor Maura Healey’s office at the State House in Boston, MA. As described in an article in the December 8 Boston Globe, “Governor Maura Healey selected two paintings, both by Black artists, from the Museum of Fine Arts to hang in her office as a continuation of her commitment to representing the state’s diversity in the State House’s artwork.”

See the Boston Globe Article, “She's got it right”.

“When people walk into the Governor’s office, I want them to feel seen, represented and empowered,” Healey said. “An important way to do this is by hanging artwork that is representative of the diverse Massachusetts experience.”

Bob Freeman's 'Black Tie,' part of the MFA's permanent collection.

Robert Freeman's “Black Tie” is part of a series of oil paintings Freeman made in 1981 called " The Social Series” to highlight the Black middle class. Additional paintings from the series can be seen on his website.

The painting depicts Black Americans at a social gathering during racial segregation when Black people had to create a space for themselves in society. The characters are shown directing their gaze at the viewer, which Freeman did with the purpose of engaging the viewer in a dialogue about belonging.

“If people see pictures of themselves in the State House, their comfort level will be higher,” Freeman said. “It makes a statement to other areas of government that should be doing the same things.”

“The walls of the People’s House should represent all of the people who make Massachusetts the greatest state,” Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll said. “Seeing these works of art as I walk into work every day will serve as a significant reminder of why we do this work and who we’re doing it for.”

“She’s got it right,” Freeman said of Healey. “She’s trying to make everyone who visits the State House more comfortable and that’s what art does.”


Childs Gallery is presently featuring Robert Freeman’s, “Cross My Heart” as part of their, “In The Spotlight” series.

“The monumental Cross My Heart serves as an excellent example of Freeman’s oeuvre. Though his most recentRobert Freeman's “Cross My Heart” featured in Childs Gallery’s, “In The Spotlight” series of works, America’s Past-Time, delved into the artist’s anger and turmoil following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black Americans, most of Freeman’s body of work is dedicated to depicting... Read More

Childs Gallery
169 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
Childs Gallery


The Boston Museum of Fine Arts presents Black Histories, Black Futures. This Robert Freeman's Etudes #4 and #2 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Bostonexhibition, which runs through January 17, 2022, was curated by local teen scholars and forms a centerpiece of the Museum’s 150th anniversary celebration. Robert Freeman’s paintings are prominently displayed in the Carol Vance Wall Rotunda (MFA Gallery 102).  The show was recommended by WBUR's The ARTery column, "16 Art Exhibits Worth Leaving The House For This Winter." See the Boston MFA’s website for museum hours of operation and additional details.


Robert Freeman, and his wife, Bettye, were featured in a May 25, Reuters News article, reflecting on their support of, and response to, a rally against the death of George Floyd.    


You can see more details about the ongoing exhibitions by viewing our recent email update. Please subscribe to my mailing list to be included in future invitations and news.

~Robert Freeman