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Whistler at the Freer Gallery

"Commissioned to finish touching up a room in the London mansion of the shipping tycoon Frederick Leyland after another artist dropped out, James McNeill Whistler got carried away and repainted the room from top to bottom. The resulting masterpiece, a garden of intricate, gold-leaf peacocks strutting across otherworldly blue-green backgrounds, was not what Leyland was expecting, and it lost Whistler an important patron. But he later found a better one in Charles Lang Freer, an American industrialist who acquired more than 50 of the watercolors Whistler started making after his falling-out with Leyland — as well as the Peacock Room itself, from Leyland’s widow — and left them to the Smithsonian, where they’re showing until Oct. 6 in the Freer Gallery of Art. Get there quickly, because the muscular little depictions of beaches, sunsets, and domestic scenes, never lent out and rarely exhibited, will be up for only five months; a new refurnishing of the Peacock Room with the sort of blue and white Chinese Kangxi porcelain that Leyland had intended to put in it will remain indefinitely." WILL HEINRICH - New York Times

Freer Gallery - May 18th - November 3rd 2019

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