A fascinating meditation on art and personality, Patricia Vigderman’s exploration of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s famous Boston museum radiates out from its subject to investigate Gardner’s legacy of luxury and willfulness. Isabella Gardner’s high spirits and aesthetic pleasure, her women friends and female power, her friendships with the adventurers and aesthetes of her world, are gathered into this engrossing investigation of patronage and passion. Blending biography, memoir, philosophy, and detective story, The Memory Palace is more than a tribute to the museum and the woman; it is an altogether new genre. Vigderman’s witty and intimate quest for her subject sets a literary precedent for the appreciation of artistic imagination. Loosening up the past, entering its mysteries and its memories, she reminds us that we change our lives when we begin a relationship with art.
By Patricia Vigderman
Published by Sarabande Books, 2007
6 x 0.5 x 9 inches