Isabella Stewart Gardner was a force to be reckoned with. She routinely went toe-to-toe with major museums and titans of industry to purchase masterpieces, created a museum unlike any other, and was famous for consistently flouting the social conventions that governed women of her time. However, this book shows another side of Isabella that readers may not expect: her love of dogs.
Richly illustrated with images from the collection and museum archives, this volume allows readers to meet Isabella's favorite dogs (Kitty Wink and Patty Boy), see the litters of puppies she bred, and discover how her dogs were a comfort toward the end of her life. Usually stern in photographs, Isabella - like many people - could not help grinning when posing for photos with puppies. This enthusiasm for dogs is also evident in her correspondence. As she wrote excitedly to her art advisor Bernard Berenson: "Part of my morning's work has been to try to induce two 9 days old fox terrier pups to open their eyes again. They did once; and then clapped them to, with a vim that seemed to say that the box they found themselves in was not the ideal they had come to this world to see!" Even the dogs of celebrities - both celebrities she knew personally, and others she admired from afar - drew her attention. This book also features some of the many photographs she collected of notable people and their dogs, like the painter Anders Zorn and his adorable pup Mouche and Caesar, the regal and loyal terrier who belonged to King Edward VII and even marched in the monarch's funeral parade.
From gathering Renaissance masterpieces to raising Fox Terriers, this book shows that Isabella approached all her tasks with enthusiasm and dedication. By learning about her love of her canine companions, this book presents a more human side of Isabella than typically on display.
Written by Diana Greenwald, Assistant Curator of the Collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Published by Paul Holberton Publishing, 2020
9 x 9 inches
Designing a Garden presents Michael Van Valkenburgh’s concept and execution of the Monk’s Garden, an intimate, walled site immediately adjacent to Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Venetian palazzo on the Fenway. Devoted to horticulture and music as well as Old Master paintings and sculpture, Mrs. Gardner planted multiple gardens on the site herself. Van Valkenburgh’s design aims to interpret the museum’s meandering gallery layout, and the rich colors and textures of its idiosyncratic collection, in a contemporary landscape context.
A small-scale, dreamlike woodland, the garden is composed of approximately sixty trees including Stewartia, paperbark maple, and gray birch, that establish a detail-rich palette of colors and textures suitable for intimate appreciation. Winding paths, paved in a striking combination of black brick and reflective mica schist, meander through the trees in the Olmstedian tradition that invites a gentle pace and contemplation.
Van Valkenburgh’s text explores the origins of his love of landscape and plants in his family farm in Upstate New York and moves through the designing of the Monk’s Garden, focusing on the experiential nature of the process and the challenges and satisfactions of the small scale and the historic and cultural context.
By Michael Van Valkenburgh
Published by The Monacelli Press, 2019
7.5 x 9.5 inches
For the first time, The Gardner Museum has authorized a book on the daring theft from the Museum of 13 priceless works of art, including 3 Rembrandts and Vermeer’s The Concert, together worth over $500 million.
In 1903, Isabella Stewart Gardner opened her extraordinary museum, modeled after a Venetian palazzo, for the "enjoyment and education of the public forever." She had amassed an impressive collection including some of the finest masterpieces by Rembrandt, Titian, Raphael, and Botticelli, as well as works by her contemporaries such as Sargent, Whistler, and Degas. The art works included paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, furniture, ceramics, glassware, books, manuscripts and ephemera―all but 13 of which remain in place today.
In the early morning hours of March 18th, 1990, two thieves disguised as police officers talked their way into the museum, and tied up the night guards. They cut some of the paintings from their frames and stacked up others to take, leaving behind a priceless Rembrandt leaning against a chest. It is believed that the thieves “came for the Rembrandts”― but they also stole works by Vermeer, Degas, Manet, and Flinck, as well as a Chinese beaker and a Napoleonic eagle finial. Eighty-one minutes later, they were gone.
Stolen gives an inside look at the robbery and explores the impact of the missing works with commentary from the Museum’s Director, Curators, and the Chief Investigator. They describe how the theft, often called a crime against humanity, has affected visitors and disrupted Isabella Stewart Gardner's careful arrangement of the works. The book is highly visual, with original photographs of the stolen objects, as well as how they originally looked placed in the galleries. Stolen, the only book on the theft commissioned by the Gardner Museum, provides the context to a brazen heist that left one of the world’s great museums in search of its lost masterpieces.
The Museum is offering $10 million for safe return of all the works; the crime remains the largest unsolved art theft in history.
Learn even more about the art on WBUR's podcast Last Seen.By Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Available exclusively through Gift at the Gardner, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is thrilled to offer a limited re-print of an "indispensable edition."
When Isabella Stewart Gardner agreed to sponsor the career of and aspiring young writer named Bernard Berenson, neither dreamed that together they would build one of this country's most impressive collections of Italian Renaissance painting. The correspondence between Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner offers fresh insight into the origins of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and gives voice to an enduring friendship that created and nurtured it.
The more than eight hundred letters included in this volume record the evolving relationship between two singular personalities: a flamboyant socialite known for lively eccentricities and her engagement with the arts; and the brilliant connoisseur and America's leading expert on Italian Renaissance painters. Their correspondence spans nearly four decades and presents a vivid portrait of their passionate interests, their perennial travels and their liaisons with artists and intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic, including Edith Wharton, Walter Lippmann, Sarah Bernhardt, John Singer Sargent, and George Santayana.
Mary Berenson, who abandoned her comfortable and conventional first marriage to become protégée and, later, the wife and close collaborator of Berenson, becomes correspondent after 1901. Indeed, Mrs. Gardner's hunch that she now had "two friends instead of one" is borne out in the lively series of letters from Mary, who comes to play an increasingly vital role in her husband's multifaceted achievements.
The reprint of this indispensable 1987 edition includes a new preface co-authored by Dr. Machtelt Bruggen Israels, guest researcher, University of Amsterdam, and Dr. Carl Brandon Strehlke, curator emeritus, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Together they explore the relationship between Isabella Stewart Gardner and Bernard Berenson that emerges from the correspondence. Meticulously edited and annotated by Rollin van N. Hadley, former director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, these elegant and entertaining letters continue to be an enduring resource for art historians and others concerned with the development of connoisseurship and the evolution of taste. At the same time, they pay tribute to a remarkable museum and the very personal visions that brought it to life.
Edited and annotated by Rollin van N. Hadley, former director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Published by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2016
9.1 x 1.8 x 6.4 inches
This absorbing book explores the crown jewel of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s collection of rare books and manuscripts: Jean Bourdichon’s Boston Hours. As court artist to King François I of France, Bourdichon produced paintings, books and even parade floats for the sovereign and his entourage. This publication accompanies the museum’s first ever exhibition dedicated to this spectacular illuminated manuscript.
Painter to two kings, Jean Bourdichon remains today one of the most celebrated artists of the French Renaissance. By age twenty-four, he was already serving as “peintre du roy,” a title which Bourdichon held for the rest of his life. His illustrious career at the French royal court led to a wide range of commissions—from portraits to wall maps to stained glass—but he is remembered principally for astonishing illuminated manuscripts. The peerless Grandes Heures for Queen Anne of Brittany remains the touchstone of this group which includes some of the most lavishly painted books of hours ever produced.
One of these masterpieces—Bourdichon’s Boston Hours—in the collection of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is the subject of this book. Bourdichon’s only intact book of hours in the United States was acquired by Isabella Stewart Gardner in 1890 and became the crown jewel of her collection of rare books and manuscripts. Leading scholars Nicholas Herman and Anne-Marie Eze explore its history in depth, shedding new light on the book’s patronage and provenance—from the shelves of a wealthy Catholic landowner in Lincolnshire to the shop of a Venetian art and antiques dealer.
This book is the latest in the Gardner’s Close Up series, each installment focusing on an individual, outstanding work of art in the collection. This publication is the first dedicated to this rare treasure, and precedes an exhibition opening in summer 2022.
Dubbed “a mighty poet” by American author Henry James, Titian remains one of the most celebrated painters in Western art. Since his death in 1576, the artist’s reputation has never waned. In Gilded Age America, Titian paintings became the peerless prizes of leading collectors and quickly rose to the top of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s wish list. In 1896, she landed his masterpiece, The Rape of Europa. It became the sole example of his celebrated cycle of poesie outside of Europe, inspired an entire gallery in her newly built museum, and contributed to England’s national outcry over the loss of its art treasures. This book – the first dedicated to Europa – tells the painting’s story in Gardner’s time, in Titian’s, and offers rare insights into the artist’s virtuoso technique.
Published here for the first time, dramatically enlarged details of the composition demonstrate Titian’s deft touch and dazzlingly technical accomplishment. These bravura passages recently revealed by the painting’s comprehensive cleaning – the first since its arrival in America – are accompanied by commentary from the conservator, Gianfranco Pocobene, who returned Europa to its original glory.
This book accompanies the Gardner Museum exhibition, Titian: Women, Myth, and Power, reuniting his poesie series in the United States for the first time. Gift at the Gardner also carries a hardcover title, Titian: Love, Desire, Death, which is the National Gallery’s exhibition catalog for the same suite of paintings.
Edited by Nathaniel Silver, previous William and Lia Poorvu Curator of the Collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (2018-2022)
Published by Paul Holberton Publishing, 2020
Measures 9.3" x 7.6"
Winner of the 2020 George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award from
The Art Libraries Society of North America
In 1916, John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) met Thomas Eugene McKeller (1890-1962) a young African American elevator attendant at Boston’s Hotel Vendome. McKeller became the principal model for Sargent’s murals in the new wing of the Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, among the painter’s most ambitious works. Sargent’s nude studies and sketches from this project attest to a close collaboration between the two men that unfolded over nearly ten years. Featuring drawings given by Sargent to Isabella Stewart Gardner and published in full for the first time, a portrait of McKeller, and archival materials reconstructing his life and relationship with Sargent, this book opens new avenues into artist-model relationships and transforms our understanding of Sargent’s iconic American paintings. Essays offer the first biography of Thomas McKeller and a window into African American life in early 20th century Roxbury. They address the artist’s sexuality, his models, and consider questions of race and gender.
Published in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death, this engrossing book accompanies an exhibition the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Raphael and the Pope’s Librarian brings together for the first time one of the most fascinating works in the museum’s collection – the Gardner Museum’s portrait of papal librarian Tommaso Inghirami – and a painting from the Vatican Museums depicting an episode in his life. This book tells the story of the first Raphael in America and explores Inghirami’s fascinating career.
Nearly five centuries after his death in 1520, Raphael’s fame remains undiminished. According to the celebrated writer Henry James, Raphael’s work was “semi-sacred.” Gilded Age American collectors swooned over his iconic religious images. They feverishly tried and failed to acquire Raphael’s rare paintings in a market flooded with copies, and the occasional forgery.
Isabella Stewart Gardner was the first collector to bring a work by Raphael to America, where she named an entire gallery of her new Boston museum after the Renaissance master and installed many of her most celebrated works of art around his portrait of the rotund cleric Tommaso Inghirami.
Raphael and the Pope’s Librarian (October 31, 2019 - January 30, 2020) is part of the Close Up exhibition series, each installment of which sheds new light on an outstanding work of art in the permanent collection.By Nathaniel Silver and Ingrid Rowland
In the winter of 1903, shortly after the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum first opened to the public, John Singer Sargent used the Gothic Room of the museum as a studio. Among the portraits he painted was one of Isabella’s dear friends, Gretchen Osgood Warren. This finely illustrated gem of a publication explores these three remarkable friends: Isabella Stewart Gardner, the museum’s founder and patroness of the arts; John Singer Sargent, premier portrait painter and the museum’s first artist-in-residence; and Gretchen Osgood Warren, a highly accomplished Gilded Age woman.
The collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum includes an astonishing array of objects, including renowned paintings, rare books, sculpture, and decorative arts, as well as more personal items such as collected letters, Isabella’s own correspondence, and ephemera. Mirroring Isabella’s inimitable gallery installations, this publication uses both fine and decorative art, photographs, and correspondence to provide a snapshot in time of the first few years of the museum, in which the collection and its carefully curated spaces inspired new works of art.
As the museum’s first artist-in-residence, Sargent fulfilled Gardner’s hopes for a new kind of cultural institution in Boston, one that would inspire creativity, cultivate artistic talent, and bring joy to artists and amateurs alike. Sargent painted five portraits during his stay at the museum and John Templeman Coolidge, a friend of Gardner’s, captured Sargent at work in the Gothic Room in seven candid photographs. Cigarette in mouth, brush in hand, and a smile on his face, Sargent is seen painting Gretchen Osgood Warren and her daughter who are posing and laughing. This vibrant double portrait stands as a testament to Sargent’s absorption of the museum’s inspirational qualities and his sensitivity to his subject.
Gretchen Osgood Warren was intellectually ambitious and after sitting for her portrait with Sargent, she moved to England with her family and pursued a degree in philosophy and metaphysics at Oxford University. Gardner embraced an increasingly progressive view of women’s rights by the turn of the century and looked approvingly on the educational, political, and professional ambitions of Gretchen Warren’s generation. In Warren, Gardner also discovered a deeply appreciative and sympathetic friend. The eighteen letters between the two women, published here for the first time, illustrate an intimate thirty-five year friendship sharing life’s joys, successes, hardships, and losses.
Accompanying the exhibition at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, this catalog explores one of the most important artists of the Renaissance. Fra Angelico (about 1395–1455) transformed Western art with pioneering images, rethinking popular compositions and investing traditional Christian subjects with new meaning. His altarpieces and frescoes set new standards for quality and ingenuity, securing his place in history. With the intellect of a Dominican theologian, the technical facility of Florence’s finest craftsmen and the business acumen of its shrewdest merchants, he forged the future of painting in Italy and beyond.
The exhibition reunites for the first time Fra Angelico’s four reliquaries for Santa Maria Novella (1424-1434; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Museo di San Marco, Florence). Together they cover key episodes in the life of the Virgin Mary and capture in miniature some of his most important compositional innovations. Assembled at the Gardner with exceptional examples of Angelico’s narrative paintings from collections in Europe and the United States, Heaven on Earth explores his celebrated talents as a storyteller and the artistic contributions that shaped a new ideal of painting in Florence.
By Nathaniel Silver, Associate Curator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Published by Applewood Books, 2016
5.5 x 0.2 x 8.2 inches
The authors consider the paintings, photographs, drawings, and sculpture produced by artists in James’s circle, assess how his pictorial aesthetic developed, and discuss why he destroyed so many personal documents and what became of those that survived. In examining works by figures such as John La Farge, Hendrik Andersen, and John Singer Sargent alongside selections from James’s novels, personal letters, and travel writings, Tóibín, Simpson, and Kiely explore the artistic and social milieu in which James lived and out of which he created his fiction. They also show him to be a writer with a painterly eye for colors and textures, shapes, and tastes, and for the blending of physical and psychological impressions. In many cases, the characters populating James’s fiction are ciphers for his artist friends, whose demeanor and experiences inspired James to immortalize them on the page. He also wrote critically about art, most notably the work of his friend John Singer Sargent.
A refreshing new perspective on the work of a master novelist who was greatly nourished by his friendships with artists, Henry James and American Painting reveals a James whose literary imagination seemed most at ease with the image, the nuance of light and shade, and the artistry of creating fully realized portraits of his characters.
By Colm Tóibín, Marc Simpson, and Declan Kiely
Published by Penn State University Press, 2017
8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
Beyond Words accompanies a collaborative exhibition held at the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College; Harvard University’s Houghton Library; and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Featuring illuminated manuscripts from nineteen Boston-area institutions, this catalog provides a sweeping overview of the history of the book in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and serves as a guide to their production, illumination, functions, and readership. Entries by eighty-five international experts document, discuss, and reproduce more than two hundred and sixty manuscripts and early printed books, many of them little known before now. Beyond Words also explores the history of collecting such books in Boston, an uncharted chapter in the history of American taste.
Of broad appeal to scholars and amateur enthusiasts alike, this catalog documents one of the most ambitious exhibitions of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts ever to take place in North America.
Edited by Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Lisa Fagin Davis, and Anne-Marie Eze
Published by McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, 2016
9 x 1.1 x 12 inches
By Melvin Moti with Douglas Ross and Runa Islam
Published by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2012
8 x 0.3 x 7.25 inches
With an almost Surrealist sensibility for collage and lyrical combinations and juxtapositions, the artist Su-Mei Tse experiments with free-form narrative to share the works and references that have inspired her on her creative path.
This artist book layers a variety of images with notes and quotes selected by Tse. It was published in conjunction with her exhibition, Floating Memories.
Born in Luxembourg, based also in Paris and Berlin, Su-Mei Tse has gained international recognition with her videos, photographs, sculptures, and installation works, which often incorporate sound and musical components. Her work explores the nature of perception and temporality, and urges viewers towards moments of deep introspection.
By Su-Mei Tse, edited by Pieranna Cavalchini, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Published by Charta/Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2010
6 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
Cassoni is the Italian word for the chests, painted with scenes from myth and literature, central to upper-class weddings of the 15th century. Little known today, cassoni deserve recognition as masterworks of the Renaissance. Botticelli, Pesellino and other superlative artists painted them, and they are precious early examples of the mythopoetic subjects that would form the core of European art until the 20th century.
The essays in this book shed new light on the meaning of cassoni through informative discussions of Renaissance wedding rituals, male-female relations and daily domestic life. A catalog section on cassoni in the exhibition that this book accompanies provides a unique guide to the stories of love, marriage and politics depicted on these sumptuous objects.
By Cristelle Louise Baskins, Jacqueline Musacchio, and Adrian W Randolph
Published by Pittsburgh Gutenberg Periscope Publishing, 2008
8.7 x 1 x 11.3 inches
Turin-born, Brooklyn-based Luisa Rabbia produced this delightful book of collage--inspired by archival photographs purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from local photographers while traveling through China in 1883--during her residency at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Rabbia manipulates the photographs with drawings made via digital projection.Written by Pieranna Cavalchini
A pioneer of the conceptual art movement, Joseph Kosuth's work explores the role of meaning in art and, like an archeologist of language and culture, he orders words and ideas from our historical memory into distinct yet intersecting layers of cultural activity--ones that are experienced today. For his 2003 exhibition celebrating the Museum's Centennial Year, Kosuth used a variety of media--text, photographs, neon signage, archival materials, objects from the This Special Edition Guide blends the Museum's guide to the collection with documentation of Kosuth's installations throughout the galleries and on the exterior façade and three site-specific installations Kosuth set up as an open-ended dialogue between James McNeil Whistler, Bernard Berenson, and Gardner herself.Edited by Fiona Biggiero
TV Dinner documents an important installation at the Museum by Maurizio Cannavacciuolo. The Italian artist's first museum exhibition in the U.S., "TV Dinner" is an intricately patterned site-specific wall drawing, executed in two parts, which contains hidden narratives about the Museum's collection and legendary founder as well as elements characteristic of Cannavacciuolo personal myths and low-key humor. This book documents the five-month installation and surveys Cannavacciuolo's earlier works. Essays include an examination of the process by which Cannavacciuolo created this monumental yet ephemeral work by Pieranna Cavalchini and a consideration of his wider oeuvre with particular attention to the role of performance and pattering in his art by Marcia E. Vetrocq.By Maurizio Cannavacciuolo
This volume draws on cultural geography, museology, gender studies, and art history to explore nineteenth-century attitudes towards the American landscape in the broadest sense. The subjects range from the Transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau, and Winslow Homer's illustrations of contemporary women, to dioramas of prehistoric life in the American Museum of Natural History. The "invention" of the Grand Canyon as a tourist destination and even the films of John Ford are used to illustrate the Victorian era's obsessions with nature. These six essays were originally presented at a symposium organized by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.Edited by T. J. Jackson Lears
Many artists in Renaissance Europe worked for rulers who maintained courts, yet not all of them can be accurately called court artists. The essays featured in Artists at Court explore the experiences and artistic works of artists for whom princely service was a crucial step in their career. The contributors to this volume examine the court artist's working conditions in administrative and ceremonial capacities and how the artists' royal clients may have influenced perceptions of the artist's role and of art itself. They discuss famous artists such as Raphael, Leonardo, Claus Sluter, and Albrecht Dürer, as well as the lesser-known creators of impressive works produced for famous patrons, including the poet Petrarch, the Dukes of Savoy, and the Bentivoglio rulers of Bologna. Their examination raises questions such as How did the artist's terms of employment compare with those of other court functionaries To what extent did court employment correspond with the elevated characterizations of art and artists that began appearing in art treatises by Filarete, Leonardo, and Vasari, among others A fascinating volume that challenges the traditional dichotomy between the alleged freedom of artists working under early capitalism and the supposed subordination of the craftsman working for autocratic rulers, Artists at Court probes the truth behind alternately romantic and oppressed conceptions of the Renaissance artist.Edited by Stephen J. Campbell