Dennis Miller Bunker - Isabella Stewart Gardner, 1889

Dennis Miller Bunker (Garden City, New York, 1861 - 1890, Boston)

Isabella Stewart Gardner, 1889

Oil on canvas, 59.7 x 48.9 cm (23 1/2 x 19 1/4 in.)


Object details

Accession number



  • Dennis Miller Bunker (Garden City, New York, 1861 - 1890, Boston) - primary
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner (New York, 1840 - 1924, Boston) - subject


Commissioned by Isabella Stewart Gardner from the American painter Dennis Miller Bunker (1861-1890), Boston on 6 March 1888 for $1,500.


Signed and dated (upper right): Denis Bunker / 1889
Inscribed (on a label, affixed to the frame): Mrs. Gardner 152 Beacon St.

Dimension Notes

Frame: 88.9 x 79.4 cm (35 x 31 1/4 in.)


Morris Carter. Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (Boston, 1925; Reprint, Boston, 1972), pp. 103-04.R.H. Ives Gammell. Dennis Miller Bunker (New York, 1953), p. 75.Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt. "Mrs. Gardner's Renaissance." Imaging the Self in Renaissance Italy. Fenway Court, vol. 23 (1990-1991), pp. 25-26, 30, n53, fig. 13.Erica Hirshler. Denis Miller Bunker: American Impressionist. Exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Chicago: Terra Museum of American Art and Denver: Denver Art Museum, 1995), pp. 64-65, 175, fig. 35.Hilliard Goldfarb and Erica Hirshler. Dennis Miller Bunker and His Circle. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1995), pp. 8, 26-27, 61, no. 8.Nathaniel Silver (ed.), Titian's Rape of Europa (Boston, 2021), pp. 15, fig. 7.

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Dennis Miller Bunker painted Isabella in a gown she wore to the Artists' Festival, a costume ball benefiting the Boston Art Students' Association in April of 1889. Isabella sat on the organizing committee for the evening and the Boston Globe reported that all of the patronesses of the event wore Venetian costumes from the time of Paolo Veronese. Bunker also attended the event dressed as a troubadour carrying a lute. A year later Bunker recalled Isabella in her regal attire, writing to her "I often think of you in Venetian state... do you wear your red and gold dress I wonder—or do your hair à la Tintoretto?" Isabella collected 6 other paintings and drawings by Bunker before he died tragically early at the age of 29.