Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery reopens famed Peacock Room

Room installation. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903). 1876-1877 oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

Room installation. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903). 1876-1877 oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art is opening the shutters to display its famed Peacock Room in natural sunlight for the first time in 25 years to give visitors a fuller view of its artworks.

The gallery reinstalled the lavish dining room this year. James McNeill Whistler created it in 1876 for a London businessman. It includes ceramics from China, Egypt, Japan and Syria, as well as paintings and other decorative arts.

Curators say some of the variations are only visible in natural light. Visitors can learn about Whistler’s controversial decorations and see the room as an example of contact between the United States and Asia.

Beginning Thursday, the museum opens the room’s shutters on the third Thursday of each month. The museum installed filters to minimize light fading.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Room installation. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903). 1876-1877 oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

Room installation. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903). 1876-1877 oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

Room installation. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903). 1876-1877 oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

Room installation. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903). 1876-1877 oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

Room installation. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903). 1876-1877 oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

Room installation. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903). 1876-1877 oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

Room installation. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903). 1876-1877 oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

Room installation. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903). 1876-1877 oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.