October 10, 2013 - Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - Sophie Calle
October 10, 2013

Sophie Calle

Sophie Calle, What Do You See? (Vermeer, The Concert) (detail), 2013. Courtesy of Sophie Calle, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston. © 2013 Sophie Calle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Sophie Calle
Last Seen
October 24, 2013–March 3, 2014

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
280 The Fenway
Boston, MA
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 11am–5pm;
Thursday 11am–9pm


Sophie Calle is well known for her work with photography and personal narrative, often placing herself in challenging emotional and psychological situations, and enlisting the participation of others. In 1991, Calle created Last Seen…, a series of works based on the 1990 Gardner Museum heist, in which thirteen works of art were stolen. Calle interviewed curators, guards, and other staff members, collecting their thoughts and memories of the missing works. The result was a meditation on absence and memory, a reflection on the emotional power that works of art have upon their viewers.

In 2012, Calle decided to revisit the project. She had learned that in 1995 the Museum had restored four of the empty frames left behind during the theft and reinstalled them on the walls of the Dutch Room.  Excited and intrigued by this visually organized framing of absence on the part of a museum, Calle made a new body of work and called it What Do You See?.  The outcome is a portrait of absence that might, or might not, take shape through collective memories.

Last Seen brings together both series of works—for the first time—at the Gardner Museum.

Accompanying lectures and programs

The Art of Memory
Calderwood Hall; select Thursdays at 7pm
October 24
Sophie Calle

November 14
“Finding, Losing; Remembering, Forgetting”
Linda Nochlin, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art, emerita, NYU

December 12
“Sophie as Sherlock”
Yve-Alain Bois, Art History Professor, Institute for Advanced Study

January 23, 2014
“The Seven Sins of Memory”
Daniel Schacter, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

March 27, 2014
“Manet’s Chez Tortoni: a Paris Restaurant in a Venetian Palazzo in Boston”
Richard Brettell, Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair and Co-Director, CISM, The University of Texas at Dallas

Sophie Calle: A Closer Look
Thursday, February 6, 2014, 6:30–8:30pm
Delve more deeply into Last Seen with an intimate discussion in the galleries. Space is limited.

Karen Haas, Lane Curator of Photographs, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Pieranna Cavalchini, Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art

Find out more online.

Exhibition organized by
Pieranna Cavalchini, Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 

Media contact
Michael Busack
T 1 617 278 5107 / mbusack [​at​] isgm.org

Media sponsor: Boston Globe Media, Inc. Additional exhibition support provided by the Consulate General of France in Boston and Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne. Thursday evening lectures are made possible in part by the Barbara Lee Program Fund. The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum presents Sophie Calle
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
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