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Watch Mad About Painting: Hokusai & Freer with Dr. Frank Feltens, PhD

 
On May 24th, 2022, the Freer House, Merrill Palmer Skillman Inst., Wayne State University and the Friends of Asian Arts & Cultures, Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) hosted Mad About Painting: Hokusai & Freer, a free online lecture by guest speaker, Frank Feltens, PhD, Japan Foundation Associate Curator of Japanese Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art, with generous support from the Japan Business Society of Detroit, Japan Cultural Development, Japan America Society of Michigan and Southwest Ontario, and the Freeman Foundation.
 
Dr. Feltens delivered an engaging and often beautifully poetic lecture exploring the life and work of one of the world's most revered artists, Katsushika Hokusai, and the man who established the world's largest collection of Hokusai's paintings and drawings, Charles Lang Freer. The program drew nearly 250 registrants and inspired a dynamic Q&A session. You can now watch the recording above or on the Detroit Institute of Arts' YouTube Channel.
 
The Freer House's William Colburn, Cheryl Deep and Ryan Cunningham would like to thank the extraordinary efforts of DIA staff members Dr. Katherine Kasdorf, Larry Baranski, Gavin Lynch, and Tarya Stanford in helping to make this event a great success. This program and others like it could not be possible without the generous support provided by the Japan Business Society of Detroit, Japan Cultural Development, Japan America Society of Michigan and Southwest Ontario, and the Freeman Foundation. Special thanks to Dr. Feltens for sharing his time, scholarship, and thoughts on the bonds that connect the Freer House of Detroit with the Freer Gallery of Washington D.C.! 

Watch Wonderful & Alarming Women: Charles Lang Freer and the Women who Helped Establish His Museum

Recording Here!

On March 31st, 2022, the Freer House hosted Wonderful & Alarming Women: Charles Lang Freer and the Women who Helped Establish His Museum, a free Zoom lecture by guest speaker, Lillian Wilson, PhD, Humanities Career Diversity Fellow and Managing Director of the Humanities Clinic at Wayne State University, and Founder and Director of Detroit Historical Consulting.
 
Dr. Wilson's meticulously researched and engaging talk on four extraordinary friends of Charles L. Freer reached nearly 90 viewers from all over the country. Thank you to Dr. Wilson and William Colburn, Cheryl Deep, and Ryan Cunningham of the Freer House for making this event a great success! If you missed the live program, a link to the recording is available below. 

Artists, Art Collectors, and Scholars: The Women who Befriended Charles Lang Freer

A Reference Guide to the Freer House presentation on
March 31, 2022
 
The Freer House celebrates Women's History Month (March)! As part of our celebration, we would like to share the stories of some of the most dynamic and interesting women of the early 20th century. These are women who Charles Lang Freer respected, shared common interests with, and called friends. Among them were Katharine Nash Rhoades, Grace Dunham Guest, Lousine Havemeyer, and Agnes Ernst Meyer. The list of books and articles below shine a light on these four exceptional women.
Katharine N. Rhoades and Agnes E. Meyer on excursion with artist-friends, Mt. Kisco, New York, 1912. Left to right: Paul Haviland, Abraham Walkowitz, Katharine N. Rhoades, Mrs. Alfred Stieglitz, Agnes E. Meyer, Alfred Stieglitz, J.B. Kerfoot, John, Marin. Abraham Walkowitz papers, 1904-1969, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Guest, Grace Dunham

Lawton, Thomas, & Lentz, Thomas W. (1998). Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Smithsonian Institution.

Tomlinson, Helen Nebeker. (2019). West Meets East: Charles L. Freer, Trailblazing Asian Art Collector. Mascot Books.


Havemeyer, Louisine

Cep, Casey. (2019). The Imperfect, Unfinished Work of Women's Suffrage. The New Yorker, (July 8 & 15, 2019). 64-68.

Frelinghuysen, Alice Cooney. (1993). Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Glazer, Lee, & Meyer, Amelia. (2017). Charles Lang freer: A Cosmopolitan Life. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery,    Smithsonian.

Lawton, Thomas, & Lentz, Thomas W. (1998). Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Smithsonian Institution.

Havemeyer, Lousine W. (1993). Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. (S. A. Stein, Ed.). Ursus Press.

Saarinen, Aline B. (1958). The Proud Possessors: The Lives, Times and Tastes of Some Adventurous American Art Collectors.   Random House.

Schneider, Karen. (2022). "The Soul Sense of a Beautiful Thing: Katharine Rhoades, Charles Lang Freer and the Art of Japan", Journal of Japonisme, 7(1), 1-17.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/24054992-07010001

Tomlinson, Helen Nebeker. (2019). West Meets East: Charles L. Freer, Trailblazing Asian Art Collector. Mascot Books.


Meyer, Agnes Ernst

Chudzicka, Dorota. (2014). "In Love at First Sight Completely, Hopelessly, and Forever with Chinese Art". Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals, 10, 331 - 340.

Glazer, Lee, & Meyer, Amelia. (2017). Charles Lang Freer: A Cosmopolitan Life. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian.

Graham, Katharine. (1997). Personal History. Vintage Books.

Lawton, Thomas, & Lentz, Thomas W. (1998). Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Smithsonian Institution.

Meyer, Agnes E. (1970). Charles Lang Freer and His Gallery. Freer Gallery of Art. Retrieved from 10.5479/sil.5211.39088016763021

Pyne, Kathleen. (2007). Modernism and the Feminine Voice: O'Keeffe and the Women of the Stieglitz Circle. University of California Press.

Saarinen, Aline B. (1958). The Proud Possessors: The Lives, Times and Tastes of Some Adventurous American Art Collectors. Random House.

Schneider, Karen. (2022). "The Soul Sense of a Beautiful Thing: Katharine Rhoades, Charles Lang Freer and the Art of Japan", Journal of Japonisme, 7(1), 1-17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/24054992-07010001

Tomlinson, Helen Nebeker. (2019). West Meets East: Charles L. Freer, Trailblazing Asian Art Collector. Mascot Books.


Rhoades, Katharine Nash

Glazer, Lee, & Meyer, Amelia. (2017). Charles Lang freer: A Cosmopolitan Life. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian.

Graham, Katharine. (1997). Personal History. Vintage Books.

Lawton, Thomas, & Lentz, Thomas W. (1998). Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Smithsonian Institution.

Pyne, Kathleen. (2007). Modernism and the Feminine Voice: O'Keeffe and the Women of the Stieglitz Circle. University of California Press.

Rhoades, Katharine Nash. (1957). An Appreciation of Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919). Ars Oreintalis, 2, 1-4.

Saarinen, Aline B. (1958). The Proud Possessors: The Lives, Times and Tastes of Some Adventurous American Art Collectors. Random House.

Schneider, Karen. (2022). "The Soul Sense of a Beautiful Thing: Katharine Rhoades, Charles Lang Freer and the Art of Japan", Journal of Japonisme, 7(1), 1-17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/24054992-07010001

Tomlinson, Helen Nebeker. (2019). West Meets East: Charles L. Freer, Trailblazing Asian Art Collector. Mascot Books.


The Late Dr. Brunk's Pewabic Pottery Chosen as a 2022 Michigan Notable Book!
 
The Michigan Notable Book award is bestowed by the Library of Michigan annually since 1991. Each year, the list features 20 books published during the previous year in any genre. The only criteria: Books that are chosen must be set in Michigan or by a Michigan author.
 
Tim Gleisner, head of collections at the Library of Michigan, says the selection committee — about a dozen folks from the academic, publishing and library worlds — pores over upward of 400 titles to figure out "the best of the best" books that honor the state. "We live and work in such a geographically diverse state, from Detroit to one of the last remaining wildernesses," he notes.
 
The above text was excerpted from a Detroit Free Press article from January 2, 2022.
 
Freer House scholar, author, and board member, the late Dr. Thomas W. Brunk, was also the noted authority on the history of Pewabic Pottery. Dr. Brunk authored a detailed book on the subject, including an entire chapter devoted to Freer's significant patronage of Pewabic and friendship with its founder Mary Chase Perry. Sadly, Dr. Brunk's untimely passing in 2018 took place before his completed manuscript could be published. Thanks to the efforts of Freer House board member, John Douglas Peters, and Project Editor, Amanda Frost, this extraordinary book was released by Michigan State Press and can be purchased at MSUpress.org. The Freer House is honored to have helped shepherd this project to assure that Dr. Brunk's exceptional scholarship and devotion to the history of Detroit's own Pewabic Pottery will be available for future generations.

A House and its History

Built by industrialist and art collector, Charles Lang Freer, in 1892; the Freer House is a masterpiece of American shingle-style architecture and the birthplace of the Freer Gallery of Art (NMAA, Smithsonian) in Washington D.C. As an early champion of American, Asian, and Middle Eastern art, Freer's legacy of multi-culturalism is celebrated in the house's mission and programming today. These bonds to our nation's capital and much of the world make the Freer House an ambassador of Detroit's unique cultural heritage.

The Freer House is also recognized for its role in child and family development. In 1920, the Freer House became the home of the Merrill-Palmer Institute, which evolved into the renowned Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute (MPSI). Today, the Freer House is the location for MPSI's faculty offices and meeting room facilities.

Although the Freer House's structure and finishes have evolved to suit institutional needs, much of its original grandeur and architectural character remain. The Freer House is open periodically to the public for lectures, receptions, exhibits, and guided tours. Please visit our Events page for more information on how to plan your visit.  

Click HERE to take a virtual tour of the Main Hall of the Freer House! Our sincere thanks to John Boros and Flythroo for producing this 3D tour!

The Freer House Garden Revitalization project was a 6 year endeavor with the goal of creating a garden that revitalizes the garden that Freer once had.  Over the course of these 6 years and with the support of our many generous donors, we were successfully able to complete the garden in the summer of 2018.  The garden has been dedicated in honor of Phebe Goldstein and in memory of Denise Little. Located on the west side of the house, the courtyard garden is open daily to the public.

Click HERE to view a short video documenting the garden transformation process created by Freer House volunteer, Natalie Miller.

During Freer's life, he and his guests could wander from the Main Hall and be transported into the exotic Peacock Room. The Peacock Room was originally decorated by James McNeill Whistler in England. Freer purchased the room and had it installed in his former Carriage House. Upon Freer's death, the Peacock Room was once again dismantled and reinstalled at the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., where it is on permanent display. Please visit our History page for more information and resources on this artistic treasure. 

Co-founder of the Friends of the Freer House and longtime Board of Visitors member of MPSI, Phebe Goldstein, sadly passed away in January 2020. Click HERE to read more about this extraordinary friend and supporter of the Freer House. 

Freer scholar, Freer House Board Member, and longtime friend to the Freer House, Dr. Thomas W. Brunk, sadly passed away in late 2018. Click HERE to read more about this esteemed scholar and the vital role he played in both documenting and helping to preserve the historic Freer House.

The Freer House membership organization works to preserve the Freer House through public events, tours, and fundraising for restoration. Please visit our Membership page to begin a rewarding role in historic preservation today!