Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery


The Freer Gallery of Art houses the Asian and impressionist art collection of Charles Lang Freer, who donated art works and an endowment to the Smithsonian in 1906. In 1982, Arthur M. Sackler donated a complementary collection housed in the Sackler Gallery in the Smithsonian Quadrangle Complex adjacent to the Freer.

Aerial View of Quadrangle
Aerial View of Quadrangle, 1993
Aerial view from the southwest of the Smithsonian Institution Building, Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, National Museum of African Art, Arts and Industries Building and Enid A. Haupt Garden.
North Exterior Elevation, Freer Gallery of Art
Elevation Drawing of Proposed Freer Gallery, 1915
Architectural sketch of the North Elevation, Building for the Freer Collections, Washington, D.C. The Freer Gallery of Art was designed by Architect Charles A. Platt.
Freer Gallery of Art Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking for Freer Gallery, 1916
The ground-breaking for the Freer Gallery of Art on September 23, 1916. A crowd of people has formed a semi-circle to observe the event. While not all of the individuals are identified, several names are listed on the back of the print, including: H. W. Dorsey, C. R. Aschemeier, J. S. Pollock, Joseph Mace, George T. Mace, Richard Rathbun, Ms. M. V. Young, James G. Traylor, Charles Greeley Abbot (fifth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1928-1944), E. L. Springer, D. L. Stejneger, and Ms. M. E. deRonceray.
Construction of Freer Gallery of Art, 1917
Freer Gallery Construction, 1917
Laying of the foundation for the new Freer Gallery of Art, March 6, 1917. Visible in the background is the brick shed of 1875 called the Laboratory of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution Building, and the Arts and Industries Building. The shed was demolished during the course of construction work. The Freer building was designed by architect Charles A. Platt.
Freer Gallery of Art North and East Sides
Freer Gallery Entrance, c. 1920
An aerial view of the north and east fronts of the Freer Gallery of Art shows construction debris on the ground around the two fronts of the Freer Gallery. The Department of Agriculture building at the corner of Independence and 12th Street is to the west of the Gallery. In the distance on the left can be seen the Potomac River. Homes, other buildings, a smokestack and clock tower can also be seen.
Peacock in the Courtyard of Freer Gallery of Art
Live Peacocks in Freer Courtyard, c. 1923
During the summer starting in 1923, one of the three peacocks loaned by the National Zoo is in the courtyard of the Freer Gallery of Art.
Peacock Room, Freer Gallery of Art
Peacock Room, c.1930s
The southwest corner of the Peacock Room, also called "Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room", by James McNeill Whistler installed in the Freer Gallery of Art. The Peacock Room was once the dining room in the London home of Frederick R. Leyland, a wealthy shipowner from Liverpool, England. It was originally designed by a gifted interior architect Thomas Jeckyll. The lattice of intricately carved shelving was constructed by Jeckyll to display Leyland's prized collection of Chinese porcelain. The south wall of the Peacock Room shows a pair of peacocks aggressively confronting each other. It was a confrontation between two peacocks, frozen in the movements of an angry ballet: one standing with its feet straddling a pile of silver shillings, its throat a path of aggressive ruffles, alluding to Leyland's favored ruffled shirts. The other peacock, recoiling before its rich and greedy rival, has a silver crest feather resembling the lock of white hair that curled above Whistler's forehead. This altercation was called, "Art and Money, or, The Story of the Room."
Aerial View of Freer Gallery of Art
Aerial View of Freer Gallery, 1954
This is an aerial view of the Freer Gallery of Art, looking south. Trees surround the Freer. Twelfth Street runs along the building to the right. The Department of Agriculture building is to the right at 12th and Independence Avenue and the Potomac River can be seen in the distance.
The Empress Nagako Tours FGA
Empress Nagako of Japan Visits Freer, 1975
The Empress Nagako escorted on a tour of the Freer Galley of Art (FGA) by Dr. Harold P. Stern and Mrs. Ripley October 2, 1975. The Empress is being greeted in the center of the photograph in front of a limousine, before approaching the stairs to the Freer Gallery of Art. A carpet has been rolled-out for The Empress. On the right-hand side of the photograph is a crowd of people. In the background, the vine-covered Smithsonian Institution Building (SIB), or "Castle," the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in the Natural History Building (NHB) across the tree-covered mall and numerous cars and visitors are visible.
Ray Schwartz
Schwartz Photographing Objects, 1978
Ray Schwartz, Freer Gallery of Art (FGA) photographer, photographing an object from the collection.
Victorian Gates on A&I Building
Freer Seen Through Arts and Industries Gates, 1979
This set of elaborate iron gates, one of four pairs created in 1879 to adorn the entrances to the United States National Museum, were reinstalled outside the west door to the Arts and Industries Building in September 1979 after extensive restoration, following their discovery in Tennessee and return to Washington, D.C. This photo looks out through the gates onto the Victorian Garden with the Freer Gallery of Art in the distance and the Washington Monument.
Cornell Evans, Ryo Nishimi, John Marshall
Craftsmen Preparing Boxes, 1982
Cornell Evans, Ryo Nishiumi and John Marshall with paulownia wood they use to make storage boxes for the Freer Gallery of Art's Oriental Scrolls. The boxes must be technically perfect to ensure an effective seal against humidity. The craftsmen also use the paulownia to make "futomaki" - a special type of protective roller - which must be custom fit for each scroll to prevent the delicate paper or silk from becoming creased.
Quadrangle Construction
Sackler Construction, 1984
Looking down from the tallest tower of the Smithsonian Institution Building towards Independence Avenue, view is of the Quadrangle (South Yard) construction site for the future home of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the National Museum of African Art and the S. Dillon Ripley International Center, an underground museum and research complex. The pit has been dug and the construction of the building is in its early stages. The South Tower of the Smithsonian Institution Building is in the foreground, and the Forrestal Building is in the background.
Examining Recent AMSG Acquisitions
Recent Sackler Acquisitions, 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's (AMSG) Glenn Lowry and Milo Beach examining a document from the treasury of Persian and Islamic paintings and manuscripts recently acquired by the Smithsonian Institution. They were the first scholars in forty years to be able to see these artifacts.
Sackler Pavilion, by Unknown, 1986, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, 86-14688-5 or 86-14688.05.
Sackler Pavilion, 1986
South side of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (AMSG) pavilion with pyramided roof. The towers of the Smithsonian Institution Building (SIB), or "Castle," are visible in the background.
Aerial View of Arthur M. Sackler Pavilion
Sackler Gallery After Opening, 1987
View of Arthur M. Sackler Gallery pavilion with pyramided roof located at the Smithsonian Institution in the four-acre Enid A. Haupt Garden, formerly known as the South Yard. The Sackler Gallery along with the National Museum of African Art and the S. Dillon Ripley International Center opened to the public on September 28, 1987. On the left is the Freer Gallery of Art and the National Museum of American History in the distance.
Grand Staircase in AMSG, by Lautman, Robert, 1987, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, 96-1388.
Sackler Grand Staircase, 1987
The view down the grand staircase of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Note the repetition of the diamond motif. The museum houses Asian art and opened as part of the Quadrangle complex on September 28, 1987.
Contributing Membership Reception
Contributing Membership Reception
Smithsonian Contributing Membership Reception at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Visitors are viewing an exhibit of Japanese screens.