Editors' pick

Freer Gallery of Art - Smithsonian Institution

Freer Gallery of Art - Smithsonian Institution photo
(Detail from James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room/Freer Gallery of Art)

David Kadouch

The French pianist plays works by Bach, Liszt, Bartok and Schumann in a program presented in conjunction with the Sackler's "The Traveler's Ear: Scenes from Music" exhibition. At the Meyer Auditorium.

A Jazz Take on Arab Songs: The Tarek Yamani Trio:

Held in conjunction with the Sackler's "Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips" exhibition, this concert features pianist Tarek Yamani's jazz arrangements of mid-20th century works by Middle Eastern composers. At the Meyer Auditorium.
11/24 - 12/8

Ongoing exhibits:

Collections of ceramics, paintings and pottery from India, Vietnam and China.
Through 12/12

Promise of Paradise: Early Chinese Buddhist Sculpture

A collection of stone and gilt bronze Buddhist sculptures highlight two flourishing ages, the late Six Dynasties and the High Tang (6th to 8th century). The exhibition's dramatic focus is the monumental Cosmological Buddha: a life-size stone sculpture covered in intricate representations of the earthly realms. It is the only one of its kind in the world.
Through 12/12

The Nile and Ancient Egypt

High quality artifacts from the collections of Freer Gallery are showcased to illuminate the role and importance of water animals for ancient Egyptian religion and afterlife.
Through 5/31/15

Style in Chinese Landscape Painting: The Yuan Legacy

Highlighting the tradition of landscape painting in Chinese culture, this exhibition features early works from the museum's collection. Key styles emerged during the Yuan dynasty.
12/13 - 6/14/15

Oribe Ware: Color and Pattern Come to Japanese Ceramics

Patterned Japanese ceramics made using a 17th-century technique are displayed.
12/13 - 6/14/15

Zen, Tea, and Chinese art in Medieval Japan

Features Chinese and Japanese paintings, lacquer ware and ceramics that shed light on the Chinese arts and ideas that were brought to medieval Japan between the late 12th and 16th centuries.
Through 11/2/15

Fine Impressions: Whistler, Freer and Venice

An exhibition that tells the story of how Charles Lang Freer acquired the Second Venice Set, 26 atmosphere etchings by James McNeil Whistler.
12/20 - 12/31/15

Chinese Ceramics: 13th-14th Century

An exhibition featuring 12 Chinese ceramics from the museum's collection highlights ceramic production during the Yuan dynasty.

Editorial Review

The Buzz: Railroad-car manufacturer and art collector Charles Lang Freer donated his collections of Asian art to the United States along with the funds to build a museum. The result is a building next door to the Smithsonian Castle that houses -- along with its neighbor, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery -- 30,000 pieces of art from the Far and Near East as well as a collection of American art.

The Collections: The museum contains intricate Japanese screens, bronze Buddhas, colorful cloisonne pieces and Chinese paintings, but the true star of the permanent collection is the Peacock Room. Originally designed by Thomas Jeckyll, an English interior architect, the Peacock Room was once the dining room of a wealthy British ship owner. The room features leather wall hangings of peacocks in deep blue and gold (painted by James McNeill Whistler), Chinese blue-and-white porcelain bowls from the Qing dynasty and wooden shutters depicting four voluptuously plumed peacocks.

Programs: Together with the Freer, the Sackler hosts an ongoing series of public programs. Concerts, films (from classics to anime) and special lectures are held most weekends in the Meyer Auditorium. The museum also organizes ImaginAsia, programs for children ages 6 to 12.

Extras: Both museums offer gift shops with Asian art, jewelry, posters, T-shirts and items for children. Neither has a restaurant.

(Updated July 10, 2007)