Anders Zorn - Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, 1894

Anders Zorn (Mora, 1860 - 1920, Mora)

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, 1894

Oil on canvas, 91 x 66 cm (35 13/16 x 26 in.) canvas

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Object details

Accession number

P17e10

Creators

  • Anders Zorn (Mora, 1860 - 1920, Mora) - primary
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner (New York, 1840 - 1924, Boston) - subject

Provenance

Painted probably as a gift for Isabella Stewart Gardner at the Palazzo Barbaro, Venice in autumn of 1894.

Marks

Signed and dated (lower left): Zorn- / Venezia 1894

Dimension Notes

Frame: 124.46 x 99.06 x 8.89 cm (49 x 39 x 3 1/2 in.)

Bibliography

Art Exhibition: Mrs. John L. Gardner, 152 Beacon St., Boston. Exh. cat. (Boston, 1899), p. 3, no. 10.
Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 6.
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), p. 423.
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 125.
Morris Carter. "Mrs. Gardner & The Treasures of Fenway Court" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), pp. 55-56.
Corinna Lindon Smith. Interesting People. (Norman, Oklahoma, 1962), pp. 156-57.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 31 (31 Mar. 1963), p. 2. (excerpting Corinna Lindon Smith, pp. 156-57)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), p. 297.
Michelle Facos. Swedish Impressionism’s Boston Champion: Anders Zorn and Isabella Stewart Gardner. Exploring Treasures in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum VI. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1993), pp. 27-30.
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, (Boston, 2003), pp. 214-15.
Elizabeth Anne McCauley et al. Gondola Days: Isabella Stewart Gardner and the Palazzo Barbaro Circle. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2004), pp. 104-126, fig. 77.
Cynthia Saltzman. Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures (New York: Penguin Books, 2008), p. 55.
Alan Chong. "Isabella Gardner, Bernard Berenson, and Otto Gutekunst" in Jeremy Howard (ed.). Colnaghi: The History (London, 2010), pp. 26-27, fig. 1.
Oliver Tostmann et al. Anders Zorn: A European Artist Seduces America. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2013), pp. 80-82, no. 1a.
Paolo Plebani. "Lotto in Accademia Carrara Not sulla 'fortuna' dell'artista" in Accademia Carrara. Un lotto riscoperto. Exh. cat. (Bergamo: Accademia Carrara, 2016-2017), pp. 57-59, fig. 2.
Per Hedström, ed. John Singer Sargent. Exh. cat. (Stockholm: Nationalmuseum, 2018), pp. 138-139, ill. p. 138.


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Commentary


This lively portrait of Isabella Gardner was painted by one of her many artist friends, Anders Zorn. It shows her at the Palazzo Barbaro in Venice, where the Zorns and the Gardners spent time together in the fall of 1894. According to Jack Gardner’s diary, on the evening of October 20 his wife went out on the balcony to see a display of fireworks. Coming back into the room filled with guests, she threw open the glass doors and said, “Come out—all of you. This is too beautiful to miss.”  The picture is all about light—the artificial light inside the room and the fireworks outside. Isabella Gardner herself, wearing her trademark long string of pearls, seems to glow. Gardner conveniently installed a portrait of her husband Jack nearby, making it easy to draw comparisons (style, personality, etc.) between the two.

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