Wonderful Washington Part 3>>>
Posted by Kay in Chgo on September 20, 2021, 3:53 pm
Belated posting of my last bit of sightseeing, the Freer Gallery of Art which is part of the National Museum of Asian Art. |
My main reason for going here was to return to the fabulous Peacock Room.
The history of the Peacock Room begins when it was the dining room in the London home of Frederick Leyland, one of James McNeill Whistler’s patrons. Leyland took part in the “Chinamania” craze that swept Victorian England. His renowned collection of Kangxi blue-and-white porcelain filled the dining room shelves. Whistler redecorated the room in 1876 and 1877 as a “harmony in blue and gold” that would complement his painting Princess from the Land of Porcelain, which hung over the fireplace. Leyland was far from pleased with the transformation—and with the artist’s requested fee—but he kept the room intact. Whistler never saw the Peacock Room again.
Museum founder Charles Lang Freer purchased the Peacock Room in 1904, shipped it from London, and reassembled it as part of his home in Detroit, Michigan. There, he filled its shelves with ceramics he collected from Syria, Iran, Japan, China, and Korea. For Freer, the Peacock Room not only reminded him of his friend Whistler, but it also embodied the collector’s personal belief that “all works of art go together, whatever their period.” The room continued to exemplify that philosophy when it was moved after Freer's death, this time to Washington, DC, and its permanent home in the Freer Gallery of Art.
Blue-and-white porcelain dating to the Kangxi period enliven the east and north walls of the Peacock Room. These pieces from the permanent collection of the Freer Gallery are similar to what Leyland would have displayed. Recently commissioned ceramics line the west and south walls. These new porcelains are part of a 1,500-year-old tradition of making porcelains in Jingdezhen, China. The Peacock Room in Blue and White, as they called it when I saw it, allows us to experience the room in much the same way Whistler originally envisioned it.
Pictures captured from around the room.
If you are interested in more Peacock Room eye candy, I found this video which shows the room when the shutters are open on the third Thursday of each month:
Also, due to the pandemic closing this Gallery for a time, I was able to see a fantastic exhibition on Katsushika Hokusai which otherwise would have been gone!
The exhibition includes about 120 works, including rare preparatory drawings for the woodcuts, spectacular painted screens and books of drawings and prints. Included are three books that belonged to Frank Lloyd Wright, containing one of Hokusai’s most important collections, the 100 Views of Mount Fuji.
For the end of this post, here is a sweet picture of puppies from the end of a twelve-month scroll by Hokusai: