November 30, 2004

Architecture Today -- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to Expand

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, one of my favorite small jewel like museums has announced (pdf) a major new expansion, complete with celebrity architect, Renzo Piano.

The museum is a Venetian gothic palace and one of the best buildings in Boston.



Renzo Piano is known for some of the most important museum buildings, such as:

*the Centre Pompidou in Paris (although I think that was with Rogers from London)


*Chicago Institute of Art expansion


*Morgan Library Expansion. The Morgan Library is the most interesting to me because you can really see how he integrates the addition into the existing historic structure.



I don't know if we can get a sense of how he will do it here, but I really hope it will be a sensitive treatment.

The Gardner, by the way, is also well known for the robbery that took place there in 1990:

stole three Rembrandts, including the Dutch artist's only seascape, "Storm on the Sea of Galilee."

It was one of several works the thieves savagely cut to release it from its frame, leaving ragged edges of the canvas behind in otherwise empty frames, which continue to hang in the museum to this day.

Also taken from that room was "The Concert" by Vermeer, as well as a Chinese bronze beaker located near the Rembrandt.

The thieves also apparently tried to steal a fourth Rembrandt but were unsuccessful.

"They tried to pry the wooden frame," explained Prouty during a recent interview in his Boston office.

Nearby, they also made off with "Landscape with an Obelisk," an oil painting by Govaert Flinck that was until recently attributed to Rembrandt, Flinck's mentor.

On the other side of the floor, the thieves went into the Short Gallery and ripped five Degas sketches from the wall. Feet away a bronze eagle that adorned the top of a Napoleonic flag was also pillaged.

A Manet portrait, located in the museum's Blue Room on the first floor, capped off the list of works the thieves stole.

Left off that list above, from the CNN article, was a splendid Rembrandt self portrait.

Posted by Random Penseur at November 30, 2004 08:04 AM

Hmmm...I'm heading to Chicago next week. I'll have to see if I can swing a visit to the Institute.

Posted by: Jim at November 30, 2004 04:21 PM
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