Charles Freer and the Arts of Japan
Between 1895 and 1911, Charles Lang Freer (1854–1919) visited Japan five times. He established himself among Japanese collectors as a formidable and respected peer. Paintings currently on display in the Japanese galleries reflect the evolution of Freer’s understanding of Japanese art, as well has the diversity and quality of his acquisitions. At the time of his death, Freer bequeathed some 600 Japanese paintings to the Freer Gallery of Art. Today that number has more than doubled, but the prototype for collecting has continued to honor his sensibilities. These works are exhibited with a nod to the 90th anniversary of the opening of the Freer Gallery in 1923. They also offer the viewer a complementary perspective to the exhibition Sylvan Sounds (Freer Gallery 9), which looks at the way Freer’s taste for the tonalist canvases of Thomas Dewing influenced his earliest purchases of Japanese painting.