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)

Shanghai Quartet

The string ensemble performs the world premiere of Lei Liang's Verge Quartet, as well as works by Ravel and Beethoven. Part of the Bill and Mary Meyer Concert Series. At the Meyer Auditorium.

Musicians from Marlboro III

Peter Wiley, Mary Lynch, Itamar Zorman and young artists from the Marlboro Music Festival perform works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms. At the Meyer Auditorium.
Through 5/31

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.
Through 6/14

Oribe Ware: Color and Pattern Come to Japanese Ceramics

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

Zen, Tea, and Chinese Art in Medieval Japan

Chinese and Japanese paintings, lacquerware and ceramics show how Chinese arts and ideas influenced medieval Japan between 1192 and 1867.
Through 9/6

Seasonal Landscapes in Japanese Screens

An exhibition of screen paintings of landscapes from the 16th and early 17th centuries made using ink painting techniques assimilated from China.
Through 11/2

Fine Impressions: Whistler, Freer and Venice

The exhibition tells the story of how Charles Lang Freer acquired the "Second Venice Set," 26 etchings by James McNeil Whistler.
Through 12/31

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)