Tate first entered into discussions with Mark Rothko about a major gift of paintings to the Gallery in 1965. At no point of the discussions did Tate Trustees formally decline an offer of works. In the very early stages of the discussions Rothko considered offering a large group of up to 32 paintings to the Gallery. The Trustees were willing to accept this group in principle and at no point discouraged it. It was made clear to the artist, however, that due to space constraints, the Gallery could never commit to exhibit in perpetuity the whole of the gift.
The discussions quickly moved on to a focused gift of nine paintings to the Collection to be displayed in a dedicated room. These works now form one of the most famous art rooms in the world, Tate’s Rothko Room. This was by far the most generous gift made by Mark Rothko to any gallery in Europe or America during his lifetime.