Now at the Freer Gallery, “Whistler in Watercolor.” A groundbreaking exhibit for many reasons, both critical to experiencing Whistler’s artistic ambitions and his understanding of the commercial art market.
“Beautiful pictures, ‘portable and dainty’ as Whistler described them, they were intended to expand his market base to include what he described as ‘rich Americans,'” said curator Lee Glazer.
The exhibit shines new light on Whistler’s materials, techniques and artistic genius.
Freer amassed the world’s largest collection of watercolors by Whistler and included them in his bequest to the Smithsonian in 1906. The collection comprises more than fifty examples — figures, landscapes, nocturnes and interiors — of Whistler’s watercolors, yet they have never left the Freer Gallery of Art to travel elsewhere.
This exhibit is the public’s opportunity to study Whistler’s watercolors throughout his career and document the evolution of his material choices and working methods.
Alongside his watercolors, Whistler’s iconic Peacock Room as Whistler intended it to be seen!
“Along with some 120 newly commissioned pieces made… specifically for this exhibition and reflecting a continuing of more than 1500 years of a porcelain-making tradition.”
These blue and white ceramics originally inspired the room and this is the first time the Freer collection has had enough porcelains to truly fill the room.
One of the most thrilling aspects of this new installation is that it allows visitors to experience the room in much the same way Whistler originally envisioned it.
While the Peacock Room is a permanent installation, “Whistler in Watercolor” will be available at the Freer Gallery of Art through October 6, 2019.