Isabella Stewart Gardner: The Life and Legacy of a Collector with Dr. Jennie Hirsh

Isabella Stewart Gardner: The Life and Legacy of a Collector with Dr. Jennie Hirsh


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

This conversation focuses on the life and legacy of Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924) through a closer look at her collecting practices of Old Masters as well as support during her lifetime of the artists and performers that were her contemporaries. Retracing her biography, and especially her travels abroad, we will review the important connections that she made not only with then-budding art historian Bernard Berenson but also various other ex-pat figures – such as artists John Singer Sargent and James McNeil Whistler as well as artist-writer John Ruskin, with whom she spent time in Venice, the city that inspired the gorgeous palazzo that she commissioned from William Sears on the land that she purchased in 1899 following her husband's untimely death. 
We will not only zero in on several specific prized pieces still in the collection today but also consider those lost in the greatest art theft in history – a heist that left the Gardner Collection without thirteen of its greatest works. Finally, we will consider briefly some of the more recent interventions by contemporary artists who have engaged with objects as well as the collection’s history to produce new and compelling projects that further extend the legacy of this unique museum and collection.
Led by an expert modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design, Dr. Jennie Hirsh, this Conversation will offer a discussion of not only Gardner's life but also specific works within the art collection she amassed, the jewel-like, Venetian-style palazzo that she built in Boston and Renzo Piano's more recent (and incredibly elegant) extension to that structure. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of how one woman's efforts could produce a world-class art museum that remains one of the cultural highlights of Boston and beyond. 

Jennie Hirsh (Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College) is a Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton and Columbia Universities, as well as pre-doctoral fellowships from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright Commission, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Wolfsonian FIU. Hirsh has authored essays on artists including Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Yinka Shonibare, and Regina Silveira, and is co-editor, with Isabelle Wallace, of Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate 2011).

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
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(4)
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Sandra S -- Boston (Saugus, US)
Nice Summary of the Life of an Amazing Woman

Thoroughly enjoyed a biographical journey of this art lover and super-achiever. ISG's life is such an interesting saga. She achieved so much for posterity and Dr Hirsh outlined this wonderfully. Listeners also received a virtual tour of the key rooms in the museum with their key acquisitions. Since I have visited this museum many times, this was a refresher but also with "ah-ha" moments. Loved the vintage photos and comparison to modern day ones. A brief look at the 1990 heist of precious art pieces brought all up to date with this ongoing mystery. Finally, the story and look of the present addition by Enzo Piano was included. All making for a wonderful seminar.

E
E. (Westport, US)
Bringing Isabella Stewart Gardner to Life

As always, Dr. Hirsh brings her subject to life with excellent slides with pictures of artwork clearly notated. She relates Isabella's life, her development of the museum, gives maps of the museum and the additions, and shows the artwork lost in THE HEIST. An excellent tutorial for anyone planning to visit the Titian special exhibit this fall.

K
Kathy K (Leominster, US)

Guest did not leave comment

A
Anonymous (Brooklyn, US)

As usual Jenny was superb,knowledgeable, informative, charming and makes you want to take more of her lectures..

T
Terry Parsons (Bucharest, RO)
Good overview if you haven't visited museum

This would be a good overview for someone planning on visiting the museum for the first time. I was, sadly, a little disappointed. I had hoped it would include a more detailed look at some of the museum's paintings within the general presentation.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
80%
(4)
0%
(0)
20%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
Sandra S -- Boston (Saugus, US)
Nice Summary of the Life of an Amazing Woman

Thoroughly enjoyed a biographical journey of this art lover and super-achiever. ISG's life is such an interesting saga. She achieved so much for posterity and Dr Hirsh outlined this wonderfully. Listeners also received a virtual tour of the key rooms in the museum with their key acquisitions. Since I have visited this museum many times, this was a refresher but also with "ah-ha" moments. Loved the vintage photos and comparison to modern day ones. A brief look at the 1990 heist of precious art pieces brought all up to date with this ongoing mystery. Finally, the story and look of the present addition by Enzo Piano was included. All making for a wonderful seminar.

E
E. (Westport, US)
Bringing Isabella Stewart Gardner to Life

As always, Dr. Hirsh brings her subject to life with excellent slides with pictures of artwork clearly notated. She relates Isabella's life, her development of the museum, gives maps of the museum and the additions, and shows the artwork lost in THE HEIST. An excellent tutorial for anyone planning to visit the Titian special exhibit this fall.

K
Kathy K (Leominster, US)

Guest did not leave comment

A
Anonymous (Brooklyn, US)

As usual Jenny was superb,knowledgeable, informative, charming and makes you want to take more of her lectures..

T
Terry Parsons (Bucharest, RO)
Good overview if you haven't visited museum

This would be a good overview for someone planning on visiting the museum for the first time. I was, sadly, a little disappointed. I had hoped it would include a more detailed look at some of the museum's paintings within the general presentation.