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Timeline

  • 1831

    Frederick Richards Leyland born in Liverpool on September 30

    1831

    Darwin begins voyage on the Beagle

    1834

    Slavery abolished throughout British Empire

    1834

    Portrait of Whistler

    Portrait of Whistler, 1845 or 1846, pencil touched with watercolor on paper (F1898.144)

    1837

    Euston Station, London's first railway station, opens

    1838

    First Canadian railway begins operation

    1839

    First Opium War between England and China (ends 1842 with Treaty of Nanking)

  • 1840

    World Anti-Slavery Convention held in London

    1842

    Treaty of Nanking signed; Hong Kong ceded to Great Britain

    1843

    Portrait of Whistler and brother

    Portrait of J. McNeill Whistler and his brother William (Dr. Whistler), Emile Francois Dessain, 1847, pastel on paper (F1904.412)

    1844

    Leyland begins work as an office boy at Messrs. Bibby, Sons, & Co., a Liverpool shipping company

    1846

    Mexican-American War

    1848

    Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends U.S. war with Mexico

  • 1851

    Whistler enrolls at U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

    1851

    Crystal Palace/Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations opens in Hyde Park, London

    1853

    Railways introduced in India; Commodore Matthew C. Perry and four U.S. naval ships steam into Edo Bay

    1854

    Sketches

    Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate, James McNeill Whistler, 1854-1855, etching on paper (F1897.17)

    Charles Lang Freer born in Kingston, N.Y.

    1854

    Connoisseurs in a Studio

    Connoisseurs in a Studio, James McNeill Whistler, 1854-1855, pen and ink drawing on paper (fsc-gr-778)

    1854

    Commodore Perry's treaty 'opens' Japan to western trade

  • 1855

    An Artist in His Studio, Seated before a Table

    An Artist in His Studio, Seated before a Table, James McNeill Whistler, ca. 1856, pen, ink, and pencil on paper (F1906.104)

    1855

    Some 15,000 Chinese arrive in California to work on the transcontinental railroad

    1855

    First land grant railroad in the U.S. completed; first railroad bridge across Mississippi River is completed

    1855

    Leyland promoted to bookkeeper at Messrs. Bibby, Sons, & Co.

    1856

    Second Opium War between western nations and China (ends 1860 with Convention of Peking)

    1858

    Title page of the 'French Set'

    Title page of the "French Set," James McNeill Whistler, 1858, etching on paper (F1898.241)

    1859

    'Black Lion Wharf'

    Black Lion Wharf, James McNeill Whistler, 1859, etching (F1906.105)

    1859

    Abolitionist John Brown leads a raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia

    1859

    Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species

  • 1860

    Whistler exhibits his first painting, At the Piano, at the Royal Academy in May

    'The Thames In Ice'

    The Thames in Ice, James McNeill Whistler, 1860, oil on canvas (F1901.107ab)

    1860

    Abraham Lincoln elected U.S. president

    1861

    Whistler in Paris, painting The White Girl

    1861

    Leyland becomes a partner in Messrs. Bibby, Sons, & Co.

    1861

    U.S. Civil War Begins

    1862

    Whistler's drawing room

    Whistler's drawing room at Cheyne Walk, London

    1862

    Pacific Railway Act by U.S. Congress authorizes construction of first transcontinental railroad.

    1863

    Whistler exhibits The White Girl at the Salon des Refusés in Paris

    1863

    Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclaimation; Congress passes Homestead Act

    1863

    Whistler's mother moves into his Chelsea residence at 7 Lindsey Row; he begins to collect Chinese blue and white porcelain

    'The Golden Screen'

    Caprice in Purple and Gold: The Golden Screen, James McNeill Whistler, 1864, oil on wood panel (F1904.75)

    La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine

    La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine, James McNeill Whistler, 1863-1865, oil on canvas (F1903.91a-b)

  • 1865

    'Portrait of Whistler'

    Portrait of Whistler, Henri Fantin-Latour, 1865, oil on canvas (F1906.276)

    1866

    La Princesse purchased by Frederick Huth

    1866

    'Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso'

    Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso, James McNeill Whistler, 1866/ca. 1874, oil on canvas (F1909.127a-b)

    1867

    'The White Symphony: Three Girls'

    The White Symphony: Three Girls, James McNeill Whistler, ca. 1868, oil on millboard mounted on wood panel (F1902.138)

    1867

    Whistler renounces realism in letter to Fantin

    1867

    Japanese art exhibited in Paris at the Exposition Universelle

    1867

    Second Reform Act passed by British Parliament

    1869

    'Speke Hall, No. 1'

    Speke Hall, No. 1, James McNeill Whistler, 1870, etching and drypoint on paper (F1898.332)

    1869

    Suez Canal opens

    1869

    Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads joined at Promontory, Utah

  • 1870

    'Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F.R. Leyland'

    Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F.R. Leyland, James McNeill Whistler, 1870-1873, oil on canvas (F1905.100)

    1870

    First train engine steams into Ulster County, N.Y., near Freer's home

    1871

    Whistler begins to paint Nocturnes - images of London after dark

    Whistler publishes Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames

    Whistler paints Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother

    1872

    La Princesse exhibited in London at the International Exposition

    Leyland sells his first art collection (mostly romantic landscapes) for £15,5001

    Leyland acquires Bibby & Sons and launches Leyland Line

    1872

    Leyland acquires La Princesse for his London home at 23 Queen's Gate

    Freer becomes office clerk at Kingston & Syracuse Railway and is soon promoted to paymaster

    1874

    Whistler stages first one-man exhibition at Flemish Gallery in London

    1874

    First Impressionist exhibition in Paris

  • 1876

    Staircase dado panel

    Staircase dado panel for entrance hall, 49 Prince's Gate, London, James McNeill Whistler, 1876, oil paint and metal leaf on wood (F1904.464)

    Peter Nelson rendering of Peacock Room

    Southeast corner of the Peacock Room in April 1876. Rendering by Peter Nelsen.

    1876

    Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia opens

    1876

    Peter Nelson rendering of Peacock Room

    Peacock Room in October 1876. Rendering by Peter Nelsen

    'Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room'

    South wall mural of Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, James McNeill Whistler, 1876-77, oil paint and metal leaf on leather, canvas, and wood

    1876

    Freer and Hecker move to Logansport, Indiana to work for the Detroit, Eel River and Illinois Railroad

    1877

    Press visit the Peacock Room in February

    Grosvenor Gallery exhibition of Whistler nocturnes prompts critical diatribe from John Ruskin in May

    Whistler commissions architect E. W. Godwin to build him the White House, a studio residence, in Tite Street

    Jeckyll, in a manic state, is committed to Bethel Hospital

    1877

    Thomas Edison presents prototype of the phonograph in December

  • 1878

    'A Chinese porcelain covered square canister and saucer dish'
    'Vase with slightly bulging body'

    1. A Chinese porcelain covered square canister and saucer dish, James McNeill Whistler, 1876, drawing (F1898.415)

    2. Vase with slightly bulging body, James McNeill Whistler, 1876-1878, drawing (F1893.18)

    'A Chinese porcelain cylindrical vase with hawthorn decoration'
    'A Chinese porcelain square canister'

    3. A Chinese porcelain cylindrical vase with hawthorn decoration, James McNeill Whistler, 1876, drawing (F1907.174)

    4. A Chinese porcelain square canister, James McNeill Whistler, 1878, drawing (F1907.175)

    1878

    'A Chinese porcelain cylindrical jar'
    'A Chinese porcelain square canister'

    5. A Chinese porcelain cylindrical jar, James McNeill Whistler, 1876-1878, drawing (F1907.176)

    6. A Chinese porcelain square canister, James McNeill Whistler, 1878, drawing (F1907.177)

    'An Oviform Ginger Jar with Bell-shaped cover'
    'A Chinese porcelain bottle'

    7. An Oviform Ginger Jar with Bell-shaped cover, James McNeill Whistler, 1878, drawing (F1907.178)

    8. A Chinese porcelain bottle, James McNeill Whistler, 1878, drawing (F1907.179)

    1878

    Whistler brings a libel suit against Ruskin

    1879

    Whistler files for bankruptcy; bailiffs take possession of his studio-residence, the White House, in May

    Whistler leaves for Venice, commissioned by the Fine Art Society to produce twelve etchings

  • 1880

    'Little Venice'
    'Nocturne'

    1. Little Venice (F1893.22); 2. Nocturne (F1898.379), James McNeill Whistler, 1879-1880, etching and drypoint on paper

    'The Palaces'
    'The Riva'

    3. The Palaces (F1898.383); 4. The Riva (F1901.170), James McNeill Whistler, 1879-1880, etching and drypoint on paper

    'Two Doorways'
    'The Traghetto'

    5. Two Doorways (F1891.1); 6. The Traghetto (F1905.183), James McNeill Whistler, 1879-1880, etching and drypoint on paper

    'The Little Mast'
    'The Little Lagoon'
    'The Doorway'

    7. The Little Mast (F1894.24); 8. The Little Lagoon (F1894.41); 9. The Doorway (F1905.181), James McNeill Whistler, 1879-1880, etching (and drypoint, 7 & 9) on paper

    1880

    'The Piazetta'
    'The Mast'
    'The Beggars'

    10. The Piazetta (F1898.386); 11. The Mast (F1894.19); 12. The Beggars (F1898.391), James McNeill Whistler, 1879-1880, etching and drypoint on paper

    1880

    Freer and Hecker move to Detroit to help launch the Peninsular Car Works

    Whistler exhibits Venice pastels at the Fine Art Society

    1881

    International Exhibition of Electricity in Paris

    1882

    Oscar Wilde lectures in Detroit on 'The House Beautiful'

    1882

    Detroit Club founded

    1882

    U.S. Congress passes Chinese Exclusion Act

    1883

    Whistler stages major exhibition of fifty-one Venice etchings at the Fine Art Society ('Yellow and White' exhibition)

    1883

    U.S. railroads adopt four standard time zones

    1883

    Freer acquires first artwork, a European etching, from the New York dealer Frederick Keppel

    1884

    Whistler stages solo exhibition 'Notes' -- 'Harmonies' -- 'Nocturnes' at Dowdeswell Gallery in London

    1884

    Third Reform Act passed by British Parliament

  • 1885

    Whistler presents 'Ten O'Clock' lecture

    1886

    Whistler publishes Twenty-Six Etchings (the 'Second Venice Set')

    1887

    'Doorway and Vine'
    'Ponte del Piovan'
    'Garden'
    'The Rialto'
    'Quiet Canal'

    1. Doorway and Vine (F1887.2); 2. Ponte del Piovan (F1887.20); 3. Garden (F1887.21); 4. The Rialto (F1887.22); 5. Quiet Canal (F1887.25), James McNeill Whistler, 1879-1880, etching on paper

    'Long Venice'

    6. Long Venice, James McNeill Whistler, 1879-1880, etching on paper (F1887.23)

    1887

    'Nocturne: Furnace'

    7. Nocturne: Furnace, James McNeill Whistler, 1879-1880, etching on paper (F1887.24)

    'La Salute'

    8. La Salute, James McNeill Whistler, 1879-1880, etching on paper (F1887.26)

    'Lagoon: Noon'

    9. Lagoon: Noon, James McNeill Whistler, 1879-1880, etching on paper (F1887.27)

    1887

    Freer and Hecker purchase adjoining lots on Ferry Avenue

    A crane, style of Ogata Kōrin

    A crane, style of Ogata Kōrin, Edo period, 19th century, ink and color on paper (F1887.1)

    1888

    Detroit establishes an art museum; inaugural exhibition features etchings from Freer's collection

    'La Belle Jardinière'

    La Belle Jardinière, James McNeill Whistler, 1894, lithograph (F1906.180)

    1889

    Major solo exhibition of Whistler's oils, watercolors, and pastels held at Wunderlich Gallery in New York

    'Grey and Silver- The Mersey'

    Grey and Silver - The Mersey, James McNeill Whistler, ca. 1883-1885, watercolor (F1889.3)

    Freer purchases first oil painting, The Rising Moon: Autumn, by American artist Dwight William Tryon (1849-1925)

  • 1890

    'Harmony in Blue and Violet'

    Harmony in Blue and Violet, James McNeill Whistler, late 1800s, pastel on brown paper (F1890.8)

    'Dwight William Tryon to Charles Lang Freer 1'
    'Dwight William Tryon to Charles Lang Freer 2'

    Dwight William Tryon to Charles Lang Freer, July 24, 1890

    "Many thanks for the very interesting colln. Of Whistlerisms. I appreciate it very highly as it makes my colln. of same quite complete. Sheridan Ford sent me a copy of his edition and I shall consider the two as among my most valuable books."

    1890

    Theodore Child publishes 'A Pre-Raphaelite Mansion' in Harper's New Monthly Magazine (December) - an account of Leyland's mansion that includes the first-ever published photograph of the Peacock Room

    Blueprints for Freer's new home on Ferry Avenue completed by Wilson Eyre

    1890

    Jacob Riis publishes How the Other Half Lives; U.S. Census Bureau announces the settlement of the west and the closing of the frontier

    1891

    Whistler's work enters public collections when the Corporation of Glasgow purchases his 1872 portrait of Thomas Carlyle and the French government purchases The Mother

    1892

    Whistler stages 'Nocturnes, Marines, Chevalet Pieces' at Goupil Gallery in London, attracting a new generation of collectors to his work

    'Variations in Flesh Colour and Green - The Balcony'

    Variations in Flesh Colour and Green - The Balcony, James McNeill Whistler, 1864-1870; additions 1870-1879, oil on wood panel (F1892.23)

  • 1892

    'Bottle'

    Bottle, decoration attributed to Kano Tangen, Edo period, 18th century, stoneware with cobalt pigment under clear glaze (F1892.26)

    Freer acquires first Japanese paintings - a group of hanging scrolls - from New York dealer R. E. Moore

    'The home of Charles Lang Freer'

    The home of Charles Lang Freer, 33 Ferry Street, Detroit, Michigan

    1892

    Freer helps organize the merger of five manufacturers of railway rolling stock into the Michigan-Peninsular Car Company

    North wall of 'Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room'

    North wall of Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, James McNeill Whistler, 1876-1877, oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood

    Cover of Leyland Auction Catalogue

    The Collection of Porcelain and Decorative Objects of Frederick Richards Leyland, Esq., Deceased. May 26, 1892

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 3"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 3"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 4"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 5"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 6"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 7"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 8"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 9"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 10"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 11"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 12"

    Leyland Auction Catalogue page 13"

    1893

    Sake Bottle

    Sake bottle, Edo period or Meiji era, 19th century, stoneware with ash and iron glazes (F1893.2)

    Freer purchases first Chinese art, a Ming dynasty painting of herons, and more than 70 works by Whistler, including many etchings from the New York dealer Knoedler & Co.

    Portrait of Dikran Kelekian

    Portrait of Dikran Kelekian

  • 1893

    'Panic of 1893' sends U.S. into economic depression; Michigan-Peninsular Car Company forced to stop manufacturing for five months

    1894

    Freer purchases Japanese ukiyo-e prints by Hokusai (1760 - 1849)

    Freer embarks on eleven-month trip around the world, traveling first to Europe and then to Asia (September 1894 - August 1895)

    49 Prince's Gate sold to Blanche Watney, who begins to contemplate the sale of the Peacock Room

    1895

    Sino-Japanese War (August 1894 - April 1895) establishes Japan as a major world power

    1895

    Charles Lang Freer and two rickshaw men

    Charles Lang Freer and two ricksha men, Kyoto, 1895 (A0712)

    Scroll letter

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, June 26, 1895

    Takaoka,
    June 26/95.

    Dear Mr. Hecker;

    Experience is gradually teaching me how to travel in Japan; what to see and how to look at it - The more closely I follow Japanese customs in ways of travel, food, &c., also in places to visit and in seeing things from their point of view the greater my pleasure...

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, page 2"

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, page 3"

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, page 4"

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, page 5"

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, page 6"

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, page 7"

    1895

    Scroll letter

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, August 4, 1895

    Atami,
    Fujiyama District
    August 4th, 95

    Dear Mr. Hecker...

    ...After leaving this place I travel in chairs pretty close to Fujiyama, then by jinrickshas to the coast again and later by rail the balance of the way to Kioto, and on Aug. 23 make my last "Sayonara" to those who taught me the word which I so deeply regret to use in its final sense...

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, page 2"

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, page 3"

    Charles Lang Freer to Frank J. Hecker, Scroll letter, page 4"

  • 1896

    Freer meets Boston-based Japanese dealer Matsuki Bunkyō (1867-1940)

    Lidded jar with design of butterflies
    Jar, Yuan dynasty

    1. Lidded jar with design of butterflies, Qing dynasty, 19th century, stoneware with white slip, iron pigment under and over clear glaze (F1896.42a-b)

    2. Jar, Yuan dynasty, 14th century, stoneware with white flip beneath clear glaze (F1896.84)

    Vase, Ming dynasty
    Sake flask, Edo period

    3. Vase, Ming dynasty, 17th century, stoneware with opaque white glaze (F1896.35a-b)

    4. Sake flask, Edo period, 17th-18th century, stoneware with iron glazes (F1896.34)

    1896

    Freer acquires first Japanese screens, purchasing two from Matsuki, and loans Japanese prints to exhibition at the Grolier Club in New York

    Whistler's wife, Beatrice, dies of cancer

    1896

    William Jennings Bryan gives 'Cross of Gold' speech at Democratic National Convention in Chicago; U.S. Supreme Court upholds racial segregation in Plessy v. Fergusson decision

    1897

    Jar, Edo period

    Jar, Edo period, late-18th-19th century, stoneware with feldspathic and rice-straw-ash glazes (F1897.44)

    1897

    R.E. Moore to Charles Lang Freer, June 8, 1897

    R.E. Moore to Charles Lang Freer, June 8, 1897

    "...these three pieces would take their place naturally on the sight-line of the finest collections."

    R.E. Moore to Charles Lang Freer, June 8, 1897, page 2"

    Serving bowl in style of Longquan ware

    Serving bowl in style of Longquan ware, Edo period, late 18th-early 19th century, stoneware with celadon glaze (F1897.11)

  • 1897

    Sigfried Bing to Charles Lang Freer, February 27, 1897

    Sigfried Bing to Charles Lang Freer, February 27, 1897

    "I take the liberty of sending you today... a Catalogue of the Goncourt Collection which is to be sold at auction in Paris during the week of March 8th."

    Sigfried Bing to Charles Lang Freer, February 27, 1897, page 2"

    National economic difficulties affect Michigan-Peninsular stock; as shares plummet, Hecker and Freer gain controlling interest in the company

    1897

    Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrated in London

    1898

    Vase, Qing dynasty
    Vessel in the shape of a lidded alms bowl

    1. Vase, Qing dynasty, mid 17th-18th century, stoneware with Jun-style glaze (F1898.32)

    2. Vessel in the shape of a lidded alms bowl, Qing dynasty, 18th-19th century, stoneware with Jun-style glaze (F1898.44)

    Bottle, Qing dynasty
    Individual food-serving cup, Momoyama period

    3. Bottle, Qing dynasty, 17th-19th century, stoneware with rice-straw ash glaze (F1898.46)

    4. Individual food-serving cup, Momoyama period, 1596-1615, stoneware with iron decoration under wood-ash glaze; gold lacquer repairs (F1898.84)

    Freer purchases 276 works by Whistler, mostly etchings and drawings from the Haden Collection

    1899

    Freer is instrumental in consolidating thirteen railroad car companies into the American Car and Foundry Company; he then retires from business to devote himself to collecting art

    Sake bottle, Edo period

    Sake bottle, Edo period, 19th century, stoneware with iron slip and rice-straw ash glaze (F1899.45)

    Freer purchases seven works on paper by Whistler as well as thirteen Japanese paintings

    1899

    Boxer Rebellion breaks out in China in response to western 'spheres of influence'

  • 1900

    Freer attends Exposition Internationale in Paris

    Freer purchases 99 East Asian ceramics, most from his customary dealers in the U.S.; he also makes his first purchases from the Paris-based Japanese dealer Hayashi Tadamassa

    Charles Lang Freer in Capri, 1903

    Charles Lang Freer in Capri, 1903 (A1187)

    Charles Lang Freer in Capri, 1903, 2

    1900

    View of Villa Castello in Capri

    View of Villa Castello in Capri

    View of Villa Castello in Capri 2

    1901

    Tea bowl with inscription and design of narcissus

    Tea bowl with inscription and design of narcissus, style of Ogata Kenzan, Kyoto workshop, Kenzan style, mid- to late-18th century, buff clay with white slip, iron, and cobalt pigments under transparent glaze (F1900.50)

    1901

    Freer meets Siegfried Bing in Paris

    Freer meets Ernest Fenollosa (1853-1908), a scholar-dealer and key advisor in Freer's quest to become a knowledgeable connoisseur of Asian art

    1901

    U.S. President William McKinley assassinated at Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York; is succeeded by his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt

  • 1902

    Freer acquires first examples of Near Eastern pottery, chiefly Raqqa wares, from Kelekian

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, January 28, 1904

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, January 28, 1904

    "Mrs Watney... showed me the room, and when I objected to the storage of bric-a-brac, dime novels, etc., which I found heaped upon the prettily painted shelves, she asked me what to substitute, and I naturally replied, 'Porcelain of the finest Chinese periods' - a life work, as you well know, even for an ardent expert"

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, January 28, 1904, page 2

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, January 28, 1904, page 3

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, January 28, 1904, page 4

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, January 28, 1904, page 5

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, January 28, 1904, page 6

    1902

    Anglo-Japanese Alliance signed

    1903

    Freer travels to Europe and is with Whistler in London during the artist's final illness

    Freer purchases La Princesse from the Glasgow collector William Burrell -- one of more than 130 works by Whistler to enter Freer's collection in 1903

    Freer purchases 57 East Asian, Near Eastern, and Islamic ceramics from western dealers and at auction

    1904

    Copley Society of Boston, Memorial Exhibition of the Works of James McNeill Whistler, March 20, 1904

    Copley Hall, looking north, March 20, 1904 (A1135)

    1904

    Invitation to Copley Society of Boston, Memorial Exhibition of the Works of James McNeill Whistler, March 20, 1904

    Invitation to Copley Society of Boston, Memorial Exhibition of the Works of James McNeill Whistler, March 20, 1904

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse, October 12, 1904

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse, October 12, 1904

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse, October 12, 1904, page 2

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse, October 12, 1904, page 3

    Kelekian serves as Commissioner General for Iran at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition

  • 1904

    Whistler's Peacock Room for America

    "Whistler's Peacock Room for America," New York Herald, July 17, 1904 (A0404)

    Whistler's Peacock Room: World's Greatest Masterpiece of Decorative Art Bought by An American

    "Whistler's Peacock Room: World's Greatest Masterpiece of Decorative Art Bought by An American," Chicago Tribune, September 4, 1904 (A0686)

    Charles L. Freer's Gift to the Smithsonian Institution

    "Charles L. Freer's Gift to the Smithsonian Institution," unknown newspaper, Detroit, MI, February 3, 1905 (A0414)

    Freer purchases eight blue-glazed Near Eastern wares from Kelekian; receives 3 cases of art from Bing, including a number of Near Eastern ceramics

    1904

    Freer offers his art collection and funds for a building to house them to the Smithsonian Institution

    1904

    Russo-Japanese War

  • 1905

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse February 8, 1905

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse February 8, 1905

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse, December 9, 1905

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse, December 9, 1905

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse, December 9, 1905, page 2

    Portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt

    Portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt, Gari Melchers, 1908, oil on canvas (F1908.17)

    1905

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse, October 17, 1905

    Charles Lang Freer to Charles Morse, October 17, 1905

    Telegram from President Roosevelt inviting Charles Lang Freer to the White House, December 9, 1905

    Telegram from President Roosevelt inviting Charles Lang Freer to the White House, December 9, 1905

    Telegram, Charles Lang Freer to President Roosevelt accepting the offer of hospitality, December 9, 1905

    Telegram from Charles Lang Freer to President Roosevelt accepting the offer of hospitality, December 9, 1905

    1906

    Telegram, Alexander Graham Bell to Charles Lang Freer, January 24, 1906

    Telegram from Alexander Graham Bell to Charles Lang Freer, January 24, 1906

    Telegram from President Roosevelt to Charles Lang Freer, January 24, 1906

    Telegram from President Roosevelt to Charles Lang Freer, January 24, 1906

    Telegrams to Charles Lang Freer from Charles Morse and Howard Mansfield, January 26, 1906

    Telegrams to Charles Lang Freer from Charles Morse and Howard Mansfield, January 26, 1906

  • 1906

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, June 20, 1906

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, June 20, 1906

    "Requests are coming from many sources for permission to visit the Peacock Room and also to study the Whistler paintings, etchings, &c.; and if the demands continue to increase in the future as they have in the past, and I shall have to surround my house with a small army of policemen."

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, June 20, 1906, page 2

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, June 20, 1906, page 3

    Charles Lang Freer to Rosalind Birnie Philip, June 20, 1906, page 4

    Freer continues to collect Raqqa ware

    1906

    Cheikh Ally to Charles Lang Freer, February 21, 1908

    Cheikh Ally to Charles Lang Freer, February 21, 1908

    "In your letter [of Feb. 6] you ask me to let you know where these manuscripts were dug up. I am very sorry not being able to write you at the present the accurate truth... but as soon as I will know their provenance I will write you immediately."

    Cheikh Ally to Charles Lang Freer, February 21, 1908, page 2

    1906

    Upton Sinclair publishes The Jungle

    1907

    Group photo of Freer with Hara Tomitarō

    Freer with collector Hara Tomitarō (front right), in front of an ancient temple on Hara's estate, Sannotini, 1907. Also shown: Hara's wife (front, far right) and daughter (front left). Second row, left to right: possibly Margaret Watson, a Detroit collector; Nomura Yōzō, a Yokohama art dealer, and Freer's ricksha man (A1078)

    Dwight Tryon to Charles Lang Freer, July 21, 1907

    Dwight Tryon to Charles Lang Freer, July 21, 1907

    "Your summary of the art of Japan agrees with all I see and know of art... I cannot imagine a higher life than the rare moments when one is attuned to a really great art work. It seems to me to contain the essence of all religions and comes the nearest to true spiritual manifestations that are known. Is it not this spiritual baring of the soul which some artists have the courage or the power to do that is true art?"

    Dwight Tryon to Charles Lang Freer, July 21, 1907, page 2

    Dwight Tryon to Charles Lang Freer, July 21, 1907, page 3

    Dwight Tryon to Charles Lang Freer, July 21, 1907, page 4

    Dwight Tryon to Charles Lang Freer, July 21, 1907, page 5

    Dwight Tryon to Charles Lang Freer, July 21, 1907, page 6

  • 1907

    Photograph of the Horace N. Collection of Korean and Chinese ceramics, no date

    Horace Allen Collection of Korean and Chinese ceramics, ca. 1907

    Frederick J. Flagg to Charles Lang Freer, March 13, 1907

    Frederick J. Flagg to Charles Lang Freer, March 13, 1907

    Frederick J. Flagg to Charles Lang Freer, March 13, 1907, page 2

    Frederick J. Flagg to Charles Lang Freer, March 15, 1907

    Frederick J. Flagg to Charles Lang Freer, March 15, 1907

    1908

    Freer installs Peacock Room with more than 250 ceramics from his collection of wares from all over Asia

    George W. Swain, south wall of the Peacock Room, 1908
    George W. Swain, west wall of the Peacock Room, 1908
    George W. Swain, west wall of the Peacock Room, 1908 (Second view)
    George W. Swain, north wall of the Peacock Room, 1908

    1. George W. Swain, south wall of the Peacock Room, 1908

    2. George W. Swain, detail of west wall of the Peacock Room, 1908

    3. George W. Swain, detail of west wall of the Peacock Room, 1908

    4. George W. Swain, north wall of the Peacock Room, 1908

    1908

    George Swain to JM Kennedy, June 18, 1908

    George Swain to JM Kennedy, June 18, 1908

    Invoice from Charles Lang Freer to George Swain, June 17, 1908

    Invoice from Charles Lang Freer to George Swain, June 17, 1908

    Invoice from Charles Lang Freer to George Swain, June 17, 1908, verso

    Freer makes third trip to Asia, specifically to study Raqqa ware

  • 1909

    Freer photographed by Alvin Langdon Coburn

    Freer comparing Whistler's Venus Rising from the Sea (F1903.174) to an Islamic glazed ceramic pot (F1905.61), 1909. Photograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn

    Freer photographed by Alvin Langdon Coburn

    Charles Caffin to Charles Lang Freer, January 25, 1904

    "The idea is to prepare a lecture on Whistler, illustrated with Lumière 'autochrome' slides... [by] Mr. Alvin L. Coburn..., one of the best of the photographers who have made the pictorial possibilities of the camera their special aim... Your treasures, including the Peacock Room, must necessarily be the basis of such a lecture."

    Charles Caffin to Charles Lang Freer, January 25, 1904

    1909

    Charles Lang Freer, 1909, Photograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn

    Charles Lang Freer, 1909, Photograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn

    Charles Lang Freer with objects from his collection, 1909. Photographs by Alvin Langdon Coburn

    Freer travels to China

    1909

    Freer tours Europe to study the design of art museums

    1909

    First Lady Helen Taft plants first Japanese cherry trees along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.

    1909

    Ford Motor Company produces the first Model Ts from its Detroit factory

  • 1910

    Freer makes final trip to Asia, embarking from San Francisco; visits Buddhist caves at Longmen, Henan for study and acquisition

    Kelekian publishes The Kelekian Collection of Persian and Analogous Potteries, 1884-1911

    1911

    Freer suffers stroke shortly after returning from China

    1911

    Chinese revolution, led by Sun Yat-Sen, overthrows Qing dynasty

    1912

    Freer loans part of his collection for a preview exhibition to the Smithsonian's newly opened 'National Museum' building, now the National Museum of Natural History.

    1913

    Freer commissions architect Charles Adams Platt (1861-1933) to design museum in Washington

    1913

    Armory Show in New York City introduces European modernism to American

    1914

    Freer meets Katharine Nash Rhoades (1885-1965), who will become his confidante and assistant

    1914

    World War I begins in July; Panama Canal opens in August

    1915

    Freer settles in New York City

    1915

    First long distance telephone service, between San Francisco and New York, is introduced

    1916

    Freer Gallery groundbreaking

    The groundbreaking of the Freer Gallery of Art on September 23, 1916, Smithsonian Institution Archives

    Marcel Bing to Charles Lang Freer, February 2, 1916

    Marcel Bing to Charles Lang Freer, February 2, 1916

    Marcel Bing to Charles Lang Freer, February 2, 1916, page 2

    Freer Gallery floorplan

    The first floor plan of the Freer Gallery of Art. Smithsonian Institution Archives.

  • 1917

    U.S. enters World War I

    1918

    Construction of the Freer Gallery delayed by war

    1919

    Freer adds codicil to his will, allowing for future acquisitions to Asian collections after his death

    Freer suffers final illness and dies in New York City on September 26

    Construction of Freer Gallery completed

    1919

    Treaty of Versailles ends World War I

    1920

    John Ellerton Lodge (1876-1942) of Boston becomes first director of the Freer Gallery

    1920

    An aerial view of the Freer Gallery of Art c. 1923

    Aerial view of the Freer Gallery of Art, ca. 1923

    The layout of the Peacock Room on May 2, 1923 in the Freer Gallery of Art

    Plans describing the layout of the Peacock Room on May 2, 1923; February 1, 1927; and December 8, 1941 (with verso) in the Freer Gallery of Art

    The layout of the Peacock Room on February 1, 1927

    The layout of the Peacock Room on December 8, 1941

    The layout of the Peacock Room on December 8, 1941 (verso)

    1947

    Finlayson renovation photos, North Wall

    Art restorers John and Richard Finlayson repair sections of the Peacock Room between 1947 and 1950

    Finlayson renovation photos, West Wall

    1989

    Detail of cleaning test; varnished and inpainted.

    Detail of preliminary cleaning test on Peacock Room ceiling, 1989

    West Wall, after cleaning, varnishing, and conservation treatment; before and after inpainting

    Detail of west wall of Peacock Room after cleaning and varnishing, showing panels before and after inpainting

    West wall btw doors Avii after CSR w inpainting

    West wall level Bvii after CSR

    West wall level Bvii after CSR w inpainting

  • 1993

    Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room

    "Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room" (F1904.61)

    2011

    Archival photographs and elevations that guided the reinstallation

    Archival photographs and elevations that guided the reinstallation

    2011

    Freer staff installs The Peacock Room Comes to America, March 2011

    Freer staff installs The Peacock Room Comes to America, March 2011

    Freer staff installs The Peacock Room Comes to America, March 2011

    Freer staff installs 'The Peacock Room Comes to America,' March 2011

    2012

    Dinner celebrating The Peacock Room Comes to America, April 2012

    Dinner celebrating 'The Peacock Room Comes to America,' April 2012