Art History

Isabella Stewart Gardner: the Lady, the Legend, the Legacy ~ a guest post by Alexandra G. Kiely

Susan Abernethy (The Freelance History Writer) was kind enough to invite me to write this guest post for her. I chose to write about American art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner, founder of the museum of the same name in Boston, Massachusetts. Check out my article and the rest of Susan’s wonderful blog!

The Freelance History Writer

Alexandra is a twenty-something art historian and researcher with omnivorous interests in arts, culture, and history. She is also a figure skater and a dancer. Read more about her various intellectual pursuits at ascholarlyskater.wordpress.com.

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, 1894 as painted by Anders Zorn Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, 1894 as painted by Anders Zorn

Isabella Stewart Gardner. Even among the ranks of art collectors – glamorous and fascinating characters all – that name looms large. A rare, early female art collector, and more importantly a female who founded her own museum, she was a powerful member of late nineteenth-century Boston’s influential upper crust. She was a woman of great curiosity and fierce intellect who travelled the world and made friends with the likes of Henry James, but she was also the subject of sensational news stories in her day and extravagant legends in ours. Her name will forever be associated with the mysterious and still-unsolved 1990 robbery that…

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3 thoughts on “Isabella Stewart Gardner: the Lady, the Legend, the Legacy ~ a guest post by Alexandra G. Kiely

  1. From the ISG Museum email list, perhaps of interest to your readers:

    “We are pleased to announce the release of our beautifully-illustrated, new biography of our founder—Isabella Stewart Gardner: A Life—the first produced by the Museum in nearly a century.

    Written by Diana Seave Greenwald, Interim Curator of the Collection, and Nathaniel Silver, former William and Lia Poorvu Curator of the Collection and division head, this book separates fact from fiction, drawing on Isabella Stewart Gardner’s substantial personal archive and new research to offer fresh perspectives on her life and how she shaped her public identity.

    What emerges is a multifaceted portrait of a pioneering collector, a brilliant curator, a social reformer, and a visionary museum founder— an exceptional and complex woman who built our legendary museum and played a vibrant and influential role in the art world.

    Isabella Stewart Gardner: A Life will be available at Gift at the Gardner on November 1.”

    Best wishes,
    Clarence

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