Surface Beauty: American Art and Freer's Aesthetic Vision

February 23, 2008 – August 1, 2010

Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC

Gallery 19 Floor Plan

This exhibition features a group of decorative paintings by American artists Thomas Dewing (1851-1938) and Dwight Tryon (1849-1925) -- whose interest in surface beauty resonated with the work of James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) -- and a selection of ceramics from the Detroit Pewabic Pottery to highlight the importance of surface beauty to Charles Lang Freer's aesthetic philosophy. Freer began collecting American paintings in the early 1890s and while his focus shifted to Asia by the turn of the century, his interest in tonal, textured surfaces remained constant, allowing him to establish "points of contact" between his Asian and American collections.