Art: PUBLIC FAVORITE IN A PALACE

JOHN SINGER SARGENT'S flickering, passionate portrayal of a Spanish dancer (opposite) is the popular favorite at the nation's most personal great museum. The museum was conceived and built by a wild, plain-faced little redhead named Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924). She has been called the "Improper Bostonian No. 1."

Isabella Gardner inherited millions of dollars from her father (a Manhattan importer) and millions more from her husband, John Lowell Gardner, who was a pillar of Boston society. She enjoyed the money. Young "Mrs. Jack" buffaloed Boston by such antics as strolling down Tremont Street...

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