Art Excursions, Inc.



The special exhibition: “Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris”

Paris was the center of nightlife and spectacle in the late 19th century, a period immortalized in evocative posters, prints and paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). This exhibition focuses on the artist’s extraordinary attention to the performers, dancers and actors of Montmartre -- the heart of the city’s bohemian nightlife.

“Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris” explores the artist’s enthusiastic participation in the celebrity culture of his day and how, to a remarkable degree, he defined it for generations to follow. In addition to his famous lithographic prints and posters, which distilled the defining gestures, costumes and expressions of “les stars” of the day into instantly recognizable images, the exhibition features never-before-displayed early drawings and a selection of paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec.

Works by his contemporaries, including Pierre Bonnard, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, John Singer Sargent and James Jacques Joseph Tissot, are also incorporated throughout the galleries, as well as recently restored period films, music, instruments and fashion accessories.

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

Comprehensiveness. That’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 some visitors may be surprised to see first-rate works from Ancient Egypt up through the present day.

There is so much to see that tour director Jeff Mishur has planned two separate highlights tours for our visit to the MFA. (Pictured: a detail of Sargent’s “Daughters of Edward Darley Boit,” just one gem from the collection of American paintings. Spoiler alert -- the MFA also displays the two large blue and white porcelain vases Sargent included in his composition.)

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Housed in a stunning 15th century Venetian- style palace with three stories of galleries surrounding an elegant courtyard, the Gardner Museum stands along with the Frick, the Barnes, 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 fantastic 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 museums:

  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 Museum is dedicated to the study of all modes and periods of art from central and northern Europe, with an emphasis on German-speaking countries. 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 Museum displays works from Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

A recent renovation and expansion at Harvard builds on the legacies of these three museums and unites their remarkable collections under one roof for the first time. Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s responsive design preserved the Fogg Museum’s landmark 1927 facility, while transforming the space to accommodate twenty-first-century needs.

Following a six-year building project, the museums now feature 40 percent more gallery space, an expanded Art Study Center, conservation labs, and classrooms, and a striking new glass roof that bridges the facility’s historic and contemporary architecture.

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition

This summer Boston plays host to a dream exhibition for anglophiles and Downton Abbey fans alike. This is much more than a reboot of an earlier traveling exhibition of costumes used in the period drama. (Although we can expect true vintage garments and period costumes that have never been shown previously.) This time around exhibition spaces feature entire original sets filled with props, decorative arts, antiques and furniture to provide a truly immersive experience. 

"All the old habitats, including Mr. Carson's pantry, the servants' dining room and Lady Mary's bedroom are painstakingly recreated, right down to the forks and spoons arranged just so on the Crawley dinner table," writes Louis Bayard for The New York Times. "Behind the green baize door lies the servants' quarters just as you left them, along with Mr. Carson's old desk, complete with period-era bills and correspondence, and on the far wall, the immortal bell board, spontaneously erupting with some mysterious new summons from above-stairs."

The exhibition also features a variety of magical special effects and hands-on experiences. In certain spaces, holograms of the show’s main characters step right into the exhibition space and speak directly to you. And, if you've always wanted to try out a gramophone, this is the chance to (ahem) take your turn!

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

Yes, we’re including the main branch of Boston Public Library on this itinerary. With numerous large scale murals by artists such as Puvis de Chavannes, John Singer Sargent, and Edwin Austin Abbey on display, we consider this venue more of a museum than a library. Furthermore, as a major lender to the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the MFA, the library has opted to mount at its main branch a supplementary exhibition focusing on the artist’s posters and contemporary conservation methods.

Founded in 1848, the Boston Public Library was the first large free municipal library in the United States. One of the world’s most beautiful libraries, the Copley Square building designed by architect Charles McKim dates to 1895.  Our private guided tour goes behind the scenes to explore spectacular interior spaces as well as murals by renowned French and American artists.

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 a selection of Jeff's engaging private tours and/or lectures designed to enhance your experience of The MFA, The Gardner, and 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 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 on all three 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 lecture about highlights of The Gardner Museum or an onsite tour.

  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.


$2,165 per person in a room with 1 bed (based on double occupancy)

$2,195 per person in a room with 2 separate beds (based on double occupancy)

$350 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.


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Boston Art and Architecture Tour: July 31-August 3, 2019

Beantown is back on our tour schedule just in time for the “Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris” exhibit at The Museum of Fine Arts -- Also featuring “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition”

P.O. Box 92, Riverside, IL 60546 • 630.671.9745 • artexcursions@yahoo.comwww.artexcursions.com

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