Isabella Stewart Gardner Museummuseum in Boston, Massachusetts dedicated primarily to European art.
The museum was established in 1903 by Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924), a wealthy patron of the arts. It is housed in a 15th-century Venetian palace which was dismantled in Italy stone by stone, shipped to Boston, and meticulously rebuilt with the only major change being a roof over the courtyard.
The museum has a small but outstanding collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles, ceramics, prints, drawings, manuscripts, rare books, jewelry, Japanese screens, and architectural elements set into the building. It is particularly rich in Italian Renaissance paintings, as well as in 19th-century works by John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler. The first Matisse to enter an American collection is housed there.
The Gardner Museum is much admired for the intimate atmosphere in which its works of art are displayed and its flower-filled courtyard.
On the night of March 18, 1990, thieves broke into the museum and stole a dozen works of art, including a work by Vermeer ("The Concert") and three Rembrandts. It is considered the biggest art theft in US history and remains unsolved. In her will, Gardner instructed that the collection not be changed or reorganised; the empty frames from which the canvases were cut still hang.