Gardner Museum celebrates new wing with classy affair

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum celebrated the opening of its new, multimillion-dollar wing with a black-tie bash.

Yoon s. byun/globe staff
Attendees at last night’s black-tie, invitation-only party visited the original Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as well as the new wing.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum celebrated the opening of its new, multimillion-dollar wing last night with a black-tie bash. The first of several parties to fete the fabulous renovation by iconic architect Renzo Piano, last night’s affair was invite-only, a preview for the museum’s biggest donors and patrons. Design Collaborate’s Jennifer Wheaton handled the arrangements, which included a champagne-flavored doughnut in guests’ valeted cars to be enjoyed on the ride home. (Alas, we took a cab.) The treat was a nod to Gardner herself, who celebrated the museum’s original opening in 1903 with champagne and doughnuts. The guest list for last night’s shindig, which featured a performance by soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, included Jack Gardner, great nephew of Isabella; artists Stefano Arienti, Dan Harvey, and Lee Ming Wei; investment king Peter Lynch; current and former museum trustees Barbara and Amos Hostetter, Ray Hammond and Gloria White-Hammond, Alli and Bill Achtmeyer, William and Jackie Egan, Brit d’Arbeloff, Lisa and Tom Blumenthal, and William and Lia Poorvu; overseers Corinne Grousbeck (who was with her husband, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck), Katherine Chapman, Nina Fialkow, Biddy and Robert Owens, Rebecca Gardner Campbell and Samuel Campbell, and Anita Walker of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The courtyard at the Gardner was ringed with VIPs noshing on open-faced lobster BLTs and butternut squash risotto stacks. (The food served in the $114 million wing was equally tasty: oysters and chianti braised short ribs.) If you weren’t invited - and chances are you weren’t - the celebration continues with a party tonight (with a performance by Yo-Yo Ma) and next week.