Sylvan Sounds: Freer, Dewing, and Japan

May 18, 2013 – January 4, 2015

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

Gallery 9 Floor Plan

Museum founder Charles Lang Freer’s taste for Japanese art grew out of his affection for American tonalist paintings. Illuminating this connection, landscapes by American artist Thomas Dewing (1851–1938) are juxtaposed with Japanese works that Freer acquired in the late 1890s, just after his first tour of Asia. On view are such Edo-period works as Moon over a Moor alongside Dewing’s paintings, including The Four Sylvan Sounds. Freer’s idealized notions of “old Japan” paralleled the nostalgic, pastoral aestheticism of Dewing’s atmospheric landscapes. Dewing often acted as Freer’s buying agent at the New York branch of Yamanaka and Company, helping his patron select Japanese prints, hanging scrolls, and screens that both reflected and affected his own artistic production.