I went to the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum yesterday. It's a lovely place with a gorgeous garden atrium and a fine collection of Sargents, who is one of my favorite painters. I had never seen his watercolors in person before, so that was a treat.
I was sad that both lighting and hanging of pieces precluded you from really seeing some of the art. A beguiling line of tiny Whistlers were way across a room, behind furniture and a rope, and in dim light. You just couldn't see them at all. Some of the Sargents were also high and dimly lit. I understand staying true to the spirit of the founder, but I wish they could improve the lighting a bit.
Also the second floor was completely closed for renovations, and the paintings don't go on alternate view until the day after I leave. So I missed the Dutch collection (what's left of it) among others. But overall it was a lovely place to wander around and see art.
One neat thing was that they have an artist in residence program. There was a really lovely exhibit of the latest one. She had done tiny, text heavy drawings of the musuem, and they fit into various small boxes. Lots of them had a library stamp on them for the date. Brilliant. Nicely in the urban sketcher style. I did a very quick sketch to remind myself of the overall feel.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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