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
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 catalogue for the same suite of paintings.
Edited by Nathaniel Silver
Published by Paul Holberton Publishing, 2020
9.3 x 7.6 inches
The catalog of a special exhibition held at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (October 2006 to January 2007) examining the artistic variety and associations of ancient Chinese mat weights, principally from the Han dynasty.
In 1884, Isabella and Jack Gardner visited China on their journey around the world. For over two months, they toured Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Macau in high colonial style. Isabella kept a diary and compiled an elaborate scrapbook, but collected very little art on her journey. It was not until thirty years later, after she had acquired a vast collection of Western paintings and opened her personal museum in Boston, that she brought her first Chinese antiquities—the two bronze bears from the Han dynasty that inspired this exhibition. A Bronze Menagerie was the first exhibition devoted to ancient Chinese mat weights, a genre of the Warring States Period and Han dynasty. This catalog explores the archaeological and literary evidence for the use of sculptures, discusses the structure of tombs, and investigates the cultural associations of the various animals depicted in the objects.
By Michelle C. Wang, with Guolong Lai, Roel Sterckx, and Eugene Yuejin Wang
Published by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Distributed by University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006
10.9 x 8.4 inches
These photographs by Abelardo Morell are the results of his intimate interaction with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and its staff and his reflection on the collection while an artist in residence in 1998. In the photograph, Tim and Rembrandt, Gardner Museum, 1998, on the cover, Morell pairs a Gardner Museum staff member, who is an artist, with the Museum's Self-Portrait by Rembrandt, invoking a conversation across time. Essays by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Simic and the Gardner Museum's curator of contemporary art, Jennifer R. Gross, explore Morel's process of revealing the extraordinary in the ordinary in his photographs.
Born in Cuba, Morell was educated at Bowdoin College and Yale University. His work is included in the collections of such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Morell currently resides in Boston.Photography by Abelardo Morell, essays by Charles Simic and Jennifer R. Gross
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
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
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.
The life of Sandro Botticelli coincided with the close of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th. This historical moment saw the transition from the rule of the Medici—whose name is synonymous with patronage of the arts—to the fanatical reforms of the Dominican Savonarola.
The catalog that accompanied the exhibition Botticelli's Witness: Changing Styles in a Changing Florence—on view at the Gardner Museum from January 24 to April 6, 1997—features major paintings from all decades of Botticelli's career, along with works by his followers and contemporaries. Within this catalog, three experts explore the relationship between Botticelli's distinct yet changing visual "voice" and the turbulent Florence society of his day.
By Hillard T. Goldfarb, James Hankins, and Laurence Kanter, with preface by former Director Anne Hawley
Published by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1997
11.5 x 0.4 x 9 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.
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
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.
10 x 1 x 12 inches
Seven experts discuss the impact of a few important Americans who, through force of personality as well as the nature of their art collecting, helped shape the culture of their times and some of the collections we enjoy today.
In their essays, experts discuss the development of American culture and cultural institutions through the key leadership role of women and other mold-breaking individuals, and present new scholarship on collecting, patronage, philanthropy, and arts management.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Published by the Trustees of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1997
7.5 x 0.5 x 10.2 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
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.
Best known for its collection of masterpiece paintings, the Gardner Museum is also one of the first museums to include a large quantity of Italian furniture. Ranging from Renaissance wedding chests and inlaid credenza to Rococo Venetian pieces of the 18th century, the collection is perhaps the largest of its type in the United States. Although relying upon several advisers for her acquisitions of paintings and sculptures (most famously, Bernard Berenson), Isabella Gardner bought her furniture entirely on her own, recognizing the critical role furniture played in the function and decoration of Italian interiors from the 15th century to the early 19th century. This meticulously designed catalog includes numerous photographs that focus on individual objects and reveal characteristic forms and styles. Observations made by the museum conversation department about the techniques and materials of the pieces, which differ significantly from furniture of other countries, are also published. Long overlooked, very little has appeared in English on the subject of Italian furniture. Yet, these magnificent objects are finally given the careful study and attention they deserve in this beautifully produced catalog.
By Fausto Calderai and Alan Chong
Published by Periscope, 2011
9.5 x 1.2 x 12 inches
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