General admission for children 17 years and under is always free

Picturing Isabella

Erica Hirshler, Casey Riley, and Diana Greenwald

Thursday, October 26, 2023
7 - 8:30 pm
Calderwood Hall

During her lifetime, Isabella Stewart Gardner cultivated a charismatic and mysterious public persona while maintaining a private personal life. For the first time this fall, the Museum brings together the paintings, photographs, and press clippings she left behind to take a closer look at how she shaped the legacy we know today.

Join us for a conversation with art historians and curators Diana Seave Greenwald, Erica Hirshler, and Casey Riley as they discuss Isabella’s deliberate approach to crafting a unique and enduring public image, unpacking how she leveraged a range of mediums and personalities. Together this panel will explore how Isabella partnered with celebrated painters John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, and others, all while dodging photographers and courting the press.

Inventing Isabella, co-curated by Diana Seave Greenwald and Erica Hirshler, is on view at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum from October 19, 2023 - January 15, 2024. Exhibition galleries will be open before and after the program.

Photo Credit: Otto Rosenheim, Isabella Stewart Gardner, 1906, Gelatin silver print, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.


Photo of a person.

James McNeill Whistler, The Little Note in Yellow and Gold, 1886, Chalk and pastel on brown paper, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.

Program Update; Casey Riley will no longer be able to participate in the discussion, curators Diana Greenwald and Erica Hirshler will continue the conversation as planned.

Inventing Isabella is supported in part by


Fredericka and Howard Stevenson and by an endowment grant from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is supported by the state of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.