Media only: Brenda Kean Tabor: 202.357.4880 ext. 319
Barbara Kram: 202.357.4880 ext. 219
Public only: 202.357.2700
Whistler books, Catalogs and Pamphlets given to the Freer and Sackler Galleries' Library
The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art (Jefferson and 12th Streets S.W.) announces a major donation to the gallery of printed materials relating to the American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). Assembled over many years by Freer visiting committee member Paul G. Marks, the books, exhibition catalogs and pamphlets will be freely available to researchers in the library of the Freer and neighboring Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
"The comprehensive collection of Whistler materials donated by Paul Marks both drew from and fueled his vast knowledge of Whistler," says Freer and Sackler galleries Director Milo Beach. "While he has always allowed scholars generous access to the collection at his home, their placement now in the library at the Freer and Sackler galleries assures that these publications will be even more widely available for research and study. Thanks to this donation, the Freer Gallery of Art is now the most important repository of Whistler-related printed materials in the world."
Consisting of more than 1,000 items, the core of the Marks collection "includes virtually every book, manuscript, or exhibition catalog centrally concerned with Whistler or his work published during the artist's lifetime," says assistant curator of American art Kenneth Myers.
Many of the books, including a pristine copy of the 1893 edition of Stephen Mallarmé's "Poems and Verse," contain original etchings and lithographs by Whistler. The Marks collection also includes a rare surviving copy of the suppressed Paris edition of Whistler's book The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, as well as one of only two known copies of Whistler's 1882 pamphlet, The Paddon Papers. The Freer copy is enriched by Whistler's own marginal comments.
The Freer Gallery of Art (12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W.) and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (1050 Independence Ave. S.W.) together form the national museum of Asian art for the United States. The Freer also houses a major collection of late 19th and early 20th-century American art. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and admission is free. Public tours are offered daily. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, the public may call 202.357.2700 or TTY 202.357.1729, or visit the galleries' Web site at www.asia.si.edu.