Connecticut Ceramics Study Circle hosts lecture

The Connecticut Ceramics Study Circle presents “Heirloom of the Artist: Rethinking Whistler’s Peacock Room,” a lecture by Lee Glazer, Associate Curator of American Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution Monday, Oct. 12, at 1:15 p.m., at the Bruce Museum. Refreshments immediately following the lecture.

This lecture will illustrate the ways in which the Peacock Room, James McNeill Whistler’s famed decorative interior, has intersected with the history of collecting Asian ceramics in the West. The room began its life as a Victorian dining room filled with Chinese blue-and-white porcelain of the Kangxi era. It later became an aesthetic laboratory where the Gilded Age collector Charles Lang Freer juxtaposed a wide variety of roughly textured, subtly glazed ceramics from all over Asia.  Far from being a static icon of Victorian aestheticism, the Peacock Room has had a dynamic, international history. And the stories that it can tell us are as much about Asian ceramics and shifting points of contact between east and west, as they are about Whistler’s decorative harmonies.

Lee Glazer is associate curator of American art at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.  She is the author of A Perfect Harmony: The American Collection in the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art  (2013) and co-editor of James McNeill Whistler in Context (2008), East West Interchanges in American Art (2012), and Palaces of Art: Whistler and the Art Worlds of Aestheticism (2013). Recently, she reinstalled the Peacock Room to its appearance in 1908, when its shelves were filled with Asian ceramics collected by museum founder Charles Lang Freer, and is the author of the accompanying book and app for iPad and iPhone, The Peacock Room Comes to America (2012)

Admission for non-members of the Connecticut Ceramics Study Circle is $25. Space is limited.  Reservations required for members and guests by Oct. 5.  For reservations and information: [email protected]cle.org.  The Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich.

James McNeill Whistler, Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, 1876–77, view of the south wall as installed for The Peacock Room Comes to America. Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1904.61

James McNeill Whistler, Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, 1876–77, view of the south wall as installed for The Peacock Room Comes to America. Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1904.61

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