Isabella Stewart was unlike any of her 19th-century contemporaries. The unconventional behaviour and tastes of this wealthy New York heiress, who settled in Boston after her marriage in 1860, regularly put her name in the gossip columns. An inspired art collector, she left behind an extraordinary museum, every bit as eccentric and endearing as she herself was. In a small palace of Venetian inspiration overlooking a beautiful garden, Stewart Gardner gathered paintings by masters such as Sargent, Whistler, Fra Angelico, Turner, and Delacroix. But surprisingly, there are no labels next to the paintings. The heiress wanted her guests to enjoy the masterpieces personally, without influence. Today, things remain unchanged. Even frames left empty by a burglary, 25 years ago, seem to await the return of the works. The only thing new here is the extension by Renzo Piano, which houses an exhibition on the history of this small and delightful museum.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
25 Evans Way
Boston, MA 02115
+1 617 566 1401