In 1916, John Singer Sargent met Thomas Eugene McKeller, a young Black elevator attendant, who would become his model. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Curator Nathaniel Silver will trace McKeller’s central importance in Sargent’s major artistic commissions in the Boston area and examine critical questions of race, class, and sexuality – as relevant today as they were in Gilded Age Boston.
Nathaniel Silver is the William and Lia Curator of the Collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. As division head, he oversees the Collections, Conservation, and Archives departments. His exhibitions at this museum include the current show “Boston’s Apollo: Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent”, as well as “Botticelli: Heroines and Heroes”, “Fra Angelico: Heaven on Earth” and others, in addition to “Piero della Francesca in America” mounted at The Frick Collection in 2013. He also conceived the Gardner’s annual Close Up exhibition series and curated its most recent installment “Raphael and the Pope’s Librarian”. Silver holds a Ph.D. in Italian Renaissance art and has received awards for his work from Harvard University, the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice.