As instructed, I did not take photos at the museum, but someone on the internet did- so you can see the beautiful courtyard here. This is a wonderful and strange museum. It is very much one woman’s vision and in that way reminded me of The House on the Rock. Many of the galleries were dark and totally packed with treasures with little explanation or continuity. But there were also marvelously light filled galleries- but the paintings I wanted to study were hung rather high- or in the case of the stunning El Jaleo by Sargent rather low, although in a room designed around it. There is currently a special exhibit on Gardner and Asia- she turns out to have been a bit of a whaddyacallit- Sinophile? Into Asia and Buddhism? But since she was sort of into everything it doesn’t seem like a particular fetish. As per usual I did zero research before museum club, instead allowing the museum to wash over me like part of a documentary found flipping through cable. I think next time I will do more research in order to appreciate the museum better. And possibly be more charming company- although Cathy and I had a lovely time eating old lady food in the little cafeteria.
A note on El Jaleo- this painting is roughly life sized and hits you right when you walk into the museum. Standing right in front of it gave me the feeling of euphoric dancing, as if at your own wedding, where you feel you are absolutely within the perfection of the moment and projecting light from all the pores in your body. You can almost smell the spicy sweetness of the room.