Imagine being allowed to walk into an eclectic piece of art work created by one of the first American woman artists ever to produce a masterpiece on this scale. For Isabella Steward Gardner both collected the work and designed the museum to house it herself. And she did this at a time when collecting and displaying art in America was a new venture and not one undertaken by women.

 

Her collection is highly personal and each piece and its arrangement reflect the Muse who guided her and spurred her on. One can almost feel her in the space still for she chose where and how everything was to be displayed and actually lived on the 4th floor. She opened her museum to the public in 1903.

 

Here are a few tidbits from this many faceted piece, Isabella Gardner’s palace:

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views of the courtyard

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John singer Sargent

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whistler

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Mexican tiling

El Jaleo-from the East Cloister

El Jaleo-from the East Cloister

vellum and gold

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Sargent
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The Rape of Europa
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The Huntress

 

Photos were very hard to take with my little handheld point and shoot in the extremely low light of these naturally lit spaces. And it being an overcast day as well, it was often impossible to even get a picture. But, perhaps for those of you who did not have the joy of growing up in the museum as I did they will convey a bit of the mystery of her collection and the romantic Italianate palace she built to house it. I have always loved this place and it was a joy to be able to visit again.

 

Angel in the dust

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