Gardner, Isabella Stewart, 1840–1924, American art collector, b. New York City. She lived in Boston following her marriage to the financier Jack Gardner. After the Civil War her home became known for brilliant social affairs and as a center for gatherings of painters, literary people, musicians, and other celebrities. Her lifelong interest in art led her to sponsor various contemporary artists and the young connoisseur Bernard Berenson, who advised her in the collecting of many works. Her husband cooperated with her in her plan to create an art museum. Fenway Court was built after the Venetian manner to house their valuable collection and was willed to the city of Boston as a public museum to be preserved without change.
See A. Pope and J. D. Hatch, Jr., ed., The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Reproductions of Paintings (1935); M. Carter, Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (1925, 2d ed. 1940); L. H. Tharp, Mrs. Jack (1965); D. Shand-Tucci, The Art of Scandal (1997).
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