Art Excursions, Inc.



Celebrating Sargent as Stylist - The special exhibition: “Fashioned by Sargent” in its only U.S. venue

It stands to reason that John Singer Sargent mixed his own colors and selected the best light for his subjects. But what role did the artist play in selecting what fashions his portrait subjects wore and how they wore them? Was Sargent a “stylist” for his clients? The answer is a resounding “YES!”

The special exhibit “Fashioned by Sargent” features fifty paintings ALONGSIDE original period garments, costumes and accessories from various museums and private collections. Presented ONLY in Boston and London, the show is sure to illuminate the intersection of art and material culture in The Gilded Age and shed new light on Sargent’s keen understanding of contemporary fashion and its role in the success of his portrait work.

Bear in mind, Sargent’s clients didn’t hand over to him total control. Therefore, this exhibition brings to light how Ellen Terry, Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau (aka “Madame X”), Louise Pomeroy and other influential, smart and talented women AND men used art and fashion to construct their public image and express their identity.

JUST ANNOUNCED - A special exhibit showcasing women artists and patrons from the Renaissance

The Museum of Fine Arts just announced revised dates for a special exhibition featuring the work of Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, and other important women artists of the Renaissance and Baroque era. The exhibit also explores the role of women patrons during the Renaissance and Baroque, including Isabella d’Este. In self-portraits like the one pictured, Sofonisba proclaimed that she herself (and not a man) was the artist. She also served as court artist to King Phillip II of Spain. The exhibit features more than one hundred objects, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, and fashion accessories.

Is Boston “Sargentville, USA?” You bet it is! ...And we can’t wait to show you why :-)

Though born in Florence and known for success (and scandal!) in Paris and London, Sargent made an extraordinary contribution to the culture of his beloved Boston. We’ll take you to the “can’t miss” sites for fans of this great American artist:

  1. -Sargent at The Gardner: After meeting in London, Isabella Stewart Gardner and Sargent formed a close friendship that lasted more than thirty-five years. She personally acquired 61 of his paintings, drawings, watercolors, and relief sculptures. In 1903, he accepted Isabella's invitation to become the first artist-in-residence at her palazzo -- Fenway Court, where he lived and worked for a month. Shortly after his return to London, he wrote to Isabella: “...my thoughts are often at the Palazzo, sometimes in the clear-sounding court, sometimes in the boudoir, or in the Gothic Room. They follow you about and have taken permanent abode at Fenway Court—and are very happy to be there.”

  2. -Sargent at Boston Public Library: The artist spent 29 years -- more than half of his entire artistic career -- planning and executing “Triumph of Religion,” a series of murals decorating the walls and ceiling of the historic library’s third floor. Spanning 84 feet by 23 feet, it is truly an epic project in terms of both concept and scale.

  3. -Sargent at the MFA: With more than six hundred objects, The Museum of Fine Arts houses the world’s largest collection of Sargent’s work. Aside from oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings, the museum displays Sargent’s ultimate gesamtkunstwerk or total work of art: a grand staircase and rotunda designed by Sargent and decorated with large scale mural paintings as well as plaster sculpted reliefs.

  4. -Sargent at Harvard: In 1920, Sargent accepted a commission from Harvard University for two painted murals titled Entering the War and Death and Victory. Stretching more than fourteen feet high, the two paintings hang at Widener Library and commemorate former Harvard students who fought and died in the first World War.


The Boston Museum of Fine Arts: one of America’s finest museums

Comprehensiveness. It’s the one word that explains why the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA) ranks among the world’s great museums. Remarkable examples from the history of art populate its galleries. Of course one expects an outstanding American collection. But the museum delivers a first-rate collection of works produced around the globe made from antiguity up through the present day.

There is so much to see that tour director Jeff Mishur plans to offer two separate highlights tours during our visit to the MFA. (Pictured: a detail of Renoir’s “Dance at Bougival,” just one gem from the collection of European paintings.)

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Housed in a stunning Venetian Renaissance style palazzo with three stories of galleries surrounding a lush courtyard, the Gardner Museum stands with the Frick, the Barnes, Hillwood, and the Phillips, as one of the America’s great house-museums. The  stipulations of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s will require that her unique vision for displaying her collection remains unchanged (again calling to mind the Barnes). In order to keep that vision intact but address the needs of a 21st century museum, the Gardner commissioned Renzo Piano to design a remarkable addition. Piano’s new building opened in 2012.

The outstanding collection contains more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture,  manuscripts, rare books and decorative arts. Galleries display seminal works by the likes of Titian, Rembrandt, Raphael, Botticelli, Sargent and Whistler.  Also on display are selections from more than 7,000 letters from 1,000 correspondents, among them Henry Adams, T.S. Eliot, Sarah Bernhardt and Oliver Wendell Holmes, plus original Dante manuscripts.

The Harvard Art Museums -- the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler now united

America’s historic Ivy League campus features three distinct art collections -- now under one roof:

  1. Bullet Originally opened in 1895, the Fogg Museum moved to its present home at 32 Quincy Street in 1927. The facility was the first purpose-built structure for the specialized training of art scholars, conservators, and museum professionals in North America. The museum is renowned for its holdings of Western paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photographs, prints, and drawings dating from the Middle Ages to the present. Sold as “degenerate art” by the Nazis at auction, Van Gogh’s 1888 “Self-Portrait as a Bonze” resides here along with numerous other masterpieces.

  2. Bullet Founded in 1903, the Busch-Reisinger collection is dedicated to the study of art from central and northern Europe, with an emphasis on German-speaking nations. Holdings include significant works of Austrian Secession art, German expressionism, 1920s abstraction, and materials related to the Bauhaus. Other strengths include late-medieval sculpture, eighteenth-century art, and noteworthy postwar and contemporary art.

  3. Bullet In 1912, Harvard offered the first courses in Asian art at any American university. By 1977, Harvard’s collections of Asian, ancient, and Islamic and later Indian art had grown sufficiently in size and importance to require a larger space for their display and study. The Arthur M. Sackler collection displays works from Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

A recent renovation and expansion at Harvard builds on the legacies of these three collections and unites them for the first time all under one roof in a hybrid of historic and renovated spaces designed by the  Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

The Special Exhibition “Inventing Isabella”

Like the men and women whose portraits hang in the “Fashioned by Sargent” exhibition, Isabella Stewart Gardner used art she collected, fashions she wore, and portraits she commissioned to express her identity and challenge Boston’s conservative high society. This focused exhibition features several paintings and photographs that reveal the complex facets of Gardner’s private and public persona. We look forward to the opportunity to connect our clients with an especially intimate and tender late portrait of Isabella that contrasts sharply with the monumental images of her from decades prior. (A detail of this portrait is pictured above.) The original watercolor portrait is normally NOT on view at the museum due to its sensitivity to light.

Trinity Church -- Boston’s Arts and Crafts masterpiece of art, architecture and decorative arts

Designed by famed architect H.H. Richardson, Trinity Church is the ONLY house of worship ranked among the "Ten Most Significant Buildings in the United States" by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Completed in 1877, the church features classic Richardsonian Romanesque design and a stunning Arts and Crafts interior with stained glass windows created by Edward Burne-Jones and other artists working for William Morris and Company. Further, the church displays several windows by John La Farge, a master of Art Noveau who was rivaled only by Tiffany in the design and production of art glass.

The Art and Architecture of Boston Public Library - featuring murals by John Singer Sargent and Puvis de Chavannes

With numerous large scale murals by artists such as Puvis de Chavannes, John Singer Sargent, and Edwin Austin Abbey on display, we consider The Boston Public Library in Copley Square more of an art museum than a library.

Founded in 1848, the Boston Public Library was America’s first large free municipal library. One of the country’s most beautiful examples of public architecture, the 1895 Copley Square landmark was designed by architect Charles McKim.  Tour host Jeff Mishur will provide a private guided tour and comment on several different mural cycles in addition to the building itself.

The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College - featuring the newly gifted Peter and Carolyn Lynch Collection

Opened in 1993, Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art displays a diverse permanent collection as well as rotating special exhibitions. In late 2021, legendary investor Peter Lynch announced that he was donating to his alma mater’s art museum twenty-seven paintings and three drawings valued collectively at more than $20 million. Highlights of the new collection donated by Lynch as well as the museum’s existing permanent collection include works by Winslow Homer, Martin Johnson Heade (pictured), John La Farge, Mary Cassatt, and John Singer Sargent. Enjoy a private guided tour at the museum.

Tour study leader and host -- art historian Jeff Mishur

Art historian Jeff Mishur, co-owner of Art Excursions, hosts this tour. In a recent article about “Top Private Art Guides,” The Wall Street Journal referred to Jeff as an expert armed with an advanced degree and “equipped to give the most veteran aesthete the thrill of a new perspective.“

Jeff is a sought-after guide for private tours of architecture, public sculpture and museum collections. He is also a popular lecturer on art and architecture.  Art Excursions is pleased to offer as part of this small group tour itinerary private tours and/or illustrated lectures about highlights of the MFA, art and architecture at the Boston Public Library, and highlights of the Harvard Art Museums.

Accommodations in Copley Square steps away from famed Newbury Street

Art Excursions understands that our choice of accommodations contributes to the overall experience of the boutique tours we design and lead. Consequently, our clients have come to expect a high standard of hotel as well as a location that is ideal for walking to shops, galleries, museums, restaurants, theaters and concert venues.

In Boston, our hotel is located in Copley Square in the popular Back Bay section of downtown Boston. Famed Newbury Street is just two very short blocks away. Known as the "Rodeo Drive of the East," Newbury Street serves as Boston's representative of fashion and style, on par with the most exclusive districts of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. The street is home to an eclectic mix of independent shops and high-end fashion and dining establishments.


Many, many thanks for the beautifully executed art tour. My husband and I rehashed the entire four days during the 3 hour trip home, and changed our "favorite part of the trip" at least 3 times each! The mix of personalities in your group was delightful; We hope to run into some familiar faces on future tours. Again, thanks for your attention to detail dedicated to the experiences and comfort of the group. I appreciate all the preliminary work that you and Michelle must have done.

We had our usual AWESOME time with you guys in Boston.  We really enjoyed our extended stay - did the Freedom Trail! Thanks again for your wonderful planning, preparation and information.  We're already looking forward to another one!


  1. Accommodations in Copley Square for 3 nights

  2. Fully guided itinerary

  3. Admissions, special exhibitions and tours as highlighted above

  4. Welcome reception

  5. Breakfast or brunch on all tour mornings

  6. Two lunches

  7. Two separate private tours at The Museum of Fine Arts by art historian and tour host Jeff Mishur

  8. A private guided tour of the Fogg Museum provided by art historian and tour host Jeff Mishur

  9. A private guided tour of art and architecture at The Boston Public Library by tour host Jeff Mishur

  10. Independent time to take in what you like at each event on the itinerary

  11. Opportunity to add on nights at a special rate

  12. Transportation to/from all venues not within easy walking distance

  13. Driver gratuities

  14. Tour design, planning, hosting, commentaries and handouts provided by Art Excursions


Gratuities for tour guides and hotel staff; incidentals at hotel; costs for items not specified above; airfare and airport transfers. We can book airfare on your behalf if you prefer not to make your own arrangements.  We do charge a $45 per ticket booking fee for this service.


$2,195 per person in a room with 1 King bed (based on double occupancy)

$2,285 per person in a room with 2 Queen beds (based on double occupancy)

$300 single supplement


We know some clients browse airfares when considering signing up for our tours. We wish to offer a reminder that airfares fluctuate daily. Fare prices are driven by sale periods that are announced periodically by a given carrier and then matched by other carriers. It no longer holds true that booking early guarantees a lower fare.


Our boutique tours are ideal for single travelers, singles traveling together, or couples. We typically have a mix of these types of travelers. If you wish to know why we charge a single supplement or have any other questions, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or email us.


Group size is limited. Reservations accepted first-come, first-served. For more details please email artexcursions@yahoo.com or call 630/671-9745.


Great! Just email us at ae-news@artexcursions.com or artexcursions@yahoo.com; we’ll send you a tour application and provide information on how to register. Our phone number is 630.671.9745


Boston Art and Architecture Tour: Featuring the exhibitions “Fashioned by Sargent” and “Strong Renaissance Women” -- November 2-5, 2023

Beantown is back on our schedule just in time for the “Fashioned by Sargent” + “Strong Renaissance Women” special exhibitions -- Also featuring “Inventing Isabella” at The Gardner and much more