Massachusetts Historical Society


Chasing Beauty: The Life of Isabella Stewart Gardner


Natalie Dykstra in conversation with Catherine Allgor, MHS President

This is a hybrid event. The in-person reception starts at 5:00 PM and the program begins at 6:00 PM. 

In-person event is sold out, please join us online. 

Register to attend online

A celebration of the publication of Chasing Beauty.

ChasingBeauty-correct-version_small.jpgIsabella Stewart Gardner’s Museum rose from Boston’s Fens at the turn of the 20th century. Its treasures encompassed not only masterwork paintings but tapestries, rare books, prints, porcelains, and fine furniture. Natalie Dykstra's new book, Chasing Beauty, illuminates the fascinating ways the eponymous museum and its holdings can be seen as a kind of memoir, dazzling and haunting, displayed per Isabella’s wishes in the exact placements she initially curated. 

Born in 1840 to a privileged New York family, Isabella Stewart married Boston Brahmin Jack Gardner as she turned 20. She was misunderstood by Boston’s insular society and suffered the death of her only child, not yet two years old. But in time came friendships, awe-inspiring world travels, and a love of collecting beautiful things with a keen eye and competitive pace. All these were balm for loss.  Join Natalie Dykstra in conversation with Catherine Allgor as they discuss Chasing Beauty—a tale of beauty and loss, grit, and American self-invention. 

A book signing will follow. 

Hybrid Event
The in-person reception starts at 5:00 PM and the program begins at 6:00 PM. If you have questions about the in-person event, please contact Olivia Sayah at 617-646-0580 or osayah 

The virtual program begins at 6:00 PM and will be hosted on the meeting platform Zoom. Registrants will receive a confirmation message with attendance information.

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