Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Freer Gallery of Art

We are going to try to finish posting our visit to Washington, D.C. last October before 2011 ends. And so here we are at the Italian Renaissance-style structure that houses the Asian and American Art collection of railroad car manufacturer, Charles Lang Freer which opened in 1923 as part of the Smithsonian Collection.
The galleries surround the courtyard. Here John is examining John Singer Sargent's gorgeous painting, Breakfast in the Loggia, 1910.
Of course, John zooms in for a detail of Sargent's light-filled image.
Mr. Freer was a big fan of the work of James Abbot McNeil Whistler. We loved this watercolour, Resting in Bed, 1883.
So loosely painted and yet evocative of a quiet, private moment with a good book.
One can imagine how much Mr. Freer, an ardent collector of Asian art, enjoyed Whistler's Caprice in Purple and Gold: The Golden Screen, 1889.
So lovely in its gilt frame.
Freer collected Chinese, Japanese and South Asian art. I loved this ink drawing, Flowers, Insects and Bamboo, painted in the 16th century by Huang Quan (Ming dynasty). Such details and colour!
John loves this detail with its fabulous demons from the Indian illumination An Emperor Visits the Poet Tusidas (circa 1710). 
And this wonderful spread from a manuscript from Iran, The Qazi of Hamadan in a Drunken State (ca. 1645).
We both loved this tranquil sculpture of a Seated Buddha,
and this 10th century Indian figure of Queen Sembiyan as the goddess Parvati.
I love the composition of John's photo of the dancing Child Saint Sambandar. The Indian boy-saint was sculpted in bronze in the 12th century. Yes, that's me in the background.
Let's finish our visit to the Freer Gallery with one of its most famous treasures, The Peacock Room. This dining room was originally designed and painted by Whistler for London shipping magnate, F.R. Leyland, but was later bought by Mr Freer and added to his collection. I hope you can see why the Freer is one of our favourite Washington galleries.

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