Thursday, January 12, 2012
Diary Of An Obsession
The woman pictured here is Isabella Stuart Gardner, the famed art collector and philanthropist who housed an amazing compilation of eclectic and very important artworks in her Boston home. Her collection is considered by some to be one of the greatest private collections of art in America. Mrs. Gardner spent years amassing these works of art and transforming her Boston home into a museum which she bequeathed to the city of Boston upon her death. Born in 1840 and died in 1924, Isabella Stewart Gardner was an illustrious and notable figure in the press and the subject of much scandal and fascination. Her museum in Boston is also the place where the most notorious and unsolved art heist in the world took place.
She's just my kind of gal, and the subject of my newest obsession.
For me it all started with a simple conversation with our UPS delivery guy. We'll call him T. T and I were chit chatting one day about this new book he was reading called,"The Gardner Heist". If you live in Boston like I do, most Bostonians are fascinated with any and all things that have to do with crime, Whitey Bulger and the Gardner Museum heist. T was telling me about how speculation surrounding the famous 1990 Gardner Museum art heist, where 13 rare and precious artworks were stolen by two mysterious characters in the middle of the night, could be the handiwork of Whitey Bulger and his crew.
"I'd like to read this book when you're done," I told him. And T delivered. About a week or so later, the book was on my desk. It took me a while to pick it up and actually start reading it, but when I did I couldn't put it down. I was hooked. There are so many people in the world who are today, still trying to solve the famous and elusive Gardner Museum heist. There are people who dedicated their life's work to trying to figure it out, and those who've died trying. But this salacious tale is about so much more than crime, and recently I find myself wanting to learn more and more about Isabella Stewart Gardner and her art.
I have never been to the Gardner Museum in Boston. I read the book in late November of last year and then decided to take trip to the museum. I learned that it was closed until January 2012, when it would be reopening with a grand new wing. The grand opening is next weekend I'm looking forward to spending an entire day immersing myself in every aspect the museum has to offer. Like a true art lover, I wasn't wasn't aware of the impact this story would have on me until it was presented before me. But of the countless, precious artworks housed inside the museum, some of some of which I have viewed on the museum website and seen in the book, the ones that intrigue me the most are not the precious Vermeer or the Rembrandt that were stolen in 1990. Yes, those works are fascinating, but the ones that I am most looking forward to seeing are the portraits of Mrs. Gardner herself.
Like a book with the last pages having been ripped out, or a movie that I didn't get to finish, I feel the need to be a part of this wonderful place so I can complete the story in my head. Or somewhat complete the story, because until they find the stolen art there will always be a page missing from this script. But I'm looking forward to walking on the same floors that Isabella Stewart Gardner did close to hundred years ago, as she intended me to.