View right to left
with frame: After Sunset

object: 2957

After Sunset

Oil painting
Artist: Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938)
Historical period(s)
Oil on canvas
H x W: 107 x 137.4 cm (42 1/8 x 54 1/8 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
During the early 1890s Dewing painted a series of landscapes with figures which he referred to as "decorations." After Sunset's two evening-gowned women in a twilight setting are rendered in soft fresco-like tones of green, mauve, and white. While the figures are precise and somewhat linear in execution, the landscape itself is freely painted and the canvas coarsely woven. The artist's subject matter always remained ambiguous, never attempting to convey a message or tell a story. Dewing thought that the public failed to understand these landscape "decorations" as they did his interior scenes with figures. He wrote to Freer, "My decorations belong to the poetic and imaginative world where a few choice spirits live." (Thomas Wilmer Dewing to Charles Lang Freer, February 16, 1901, Freer Gallery of Art Archives.) Not only was the artist trying to establish a mood in his paintings, but the very ambiguity of the mood demanded viewer participation—and an appreciation of beauty for its own sake.

From 1892 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Thomas Wilmer Dewing on December 27, 1892 [1]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [2]


[1] Object file.

[2] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Former owner
Thomas Wilmer Dewing (C.L. Freer source) (1851-1938)
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
On View Location
Currently not on view
night, United States
Collection(s) Area
American Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

The Freer|Sackler is closed for renovation and reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Join us for our reopening celebration on October 14–15, 2017.