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Talk: What Isabella wanted: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Boston’s Gilded Age

Thursday 30 March, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

$25.00 – $30.00

We welcome Art Historian Phyllis Mossman to our Art on Thursday series.

Anders Zorn, Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice (1894), Gardner Museum. Image provided by and reproduced courtesy of P. Mossman

The talk will focus on the self-assembled collection of art and objects created by Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840–1924) – from her first purchase of Johannes Vermeer’s The Concert (c. 1664) at auction in Paris in 1892 – to early print editions and manuscripts of Dante Alighieri. Gardner became a money-stream for Bernard Berenson, her art advisor, who assisted with the acquisition of the first Botticelli to be owned by an American. She then placed her collection in a purpose built Venetian Renaissance style palace in Boston which she also had a hand in designing.   

Gardner left the legacy of her museum to be preserved without change which has had significant implications for curators and viewer experience alike. The collection is also known for the theft of thirteen valuable works in 1990 (including the Vermeer) which have never been recovered. 

Phyllis Mossman (image supplied)

Phyllis Mossman was a lecturer in Renaissance art history at Victoria University from 1993-2017 and was a member of the Adam Art Gallery Advisory Board and Victoria University Art Collection Funding Trust until 2021. She has led two Renaissance art tours to Italy and gives public art history lectures. She also worked as an independent art consultant to both corporate and private clients. She is Vice-President of the Italian language school and cultural organisation Circolo Italiano di Wellington.  

Tickets: Includes light refreshments and free parking.


Feature image: Detail from: The courtyard of the Venetian Palace style Museum (built 1898–1901). Provided by and reproduced courtesy of P Mossman.


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Thursday 30 March
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
$25.00 – $30.00
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55 Cable Street, Wellington
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