Whistler’s Peacock Room revisited


The Peacock Room (1876–1877).

More Japonism courtesy of the Google Art Project where it’s possible to pan around this view of Whistler’s Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery of Art. There’s only one view, unfortunately, it would have been good to see the reverse angle or, better still, a full panorama.


The Princess from the Land of Porcelain (1864).

Google has a number of the Freer’s collection of Whistler drawings and paintings, including The Princess from the Land of Porcelain, the painting which the Peacock Room was designed to show to best effect along with patron Frederick Leyland’s blue-and-white china. Once again the Google views allow us to scrutinise the details of a painting in a way which would otherwise be impossible. It’s fascinating for me to see how loose Whistler’s technique was even at this early date, the brushstrokes of the face seem to have been scumbled over raw canvas.



Caprice in Purple and Gold: The Golden Screen (1864).

Also at the Freer is another piece of exotica from the same period with a suitably Japanese frame. Whistler’s Japonism, and the Peacock Room in particular, leads directly to Aubrey Beardsley’s art thirty years later.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Peacock Clock
Whistler’s Peacock Room

2 thoughts on “Whistler’s Peacock Room revisited”

  1. The Freer and its sister gallery the Sackler are my favorite museums here in Wash DC, being partial to Asian art. The Freer also has a small but wonderful collection of 10th century South Indian Chola bronzes, and they continuously rotate their collection of Chinese landscapes, my other favorite,

    Some interesting news about the Peacock Room. Beginning in September and on every third Thursday of the month thereafter through 2013 they’re going to open the shutters and expose the room to natural lighting. Apparently the’ve treated the windows with a special filtering film that will not inhibit the light but will prevent fading. Should make the room even more trippy than it normally is.

  2. I had a dear friend, he died a few years back, who I truly wish could have seen this! A full panorama would be ideal but until then this will do. And to see the room unshuttered—wow!

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