About the Exhibition

"Years ago I decided that the greatest need in our Country was Art... We were a very young country and had very few opportunities to see beautiful things, works of art... So, I determined to make it my life’s work if I could." Isabella Stewart Gardner

Off the Wall: Gardner and Her Masterpieces features twenty-five select highlights from the Museum’s incomparable fine art collection, as well as forty rarely-seen items from the institutional archives. This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition—prompted by ongoing preservation and maintenance of her historic “palazzo” on the Fenway in Boston—provides visitors with direct access to extraordinary works by artists such as Botticelli, Raphael, and Rembrandt, among others.

Placing a select group of paintings and drawings in our contemporary exhibition space, seen up close and lit to best advantage, allows us to reconsider the museum’s rich holdings and to think anew about how works from the Renaissance to the Rococo speak to us today.

A selection from the archives focuses on Gardner herself—traveler, collector of fine art, and a patron of the arts and letters. When taken together, both the masterpieces and the archival material on display allow us to better understand Gardner’s aspirations and her astonishing achievements.

Listen Introduction by Curator Christina Nielsen

Visit the online exhibition boutique to find gifts from books to fine art prints for the home.

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Copyright © 2016 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. All rights reserved.

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Premier Exhibition Sponsor: The Richard C. von Hess Foundation. The opening reception and preview are generously sponsored by Tom and Lisa Blumenthal. Exhibition support is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for Humanities. This exhibition also is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which receives support from the State of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Any viewings, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Media Sponsor: 90.9 WBUR, Boston’s NPR® News Station.