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Sunday, November 10, 2019
West Meets East: Charles L. Freer, Trailblazing Asian Art Collector 

2:00 PM Lecture by Helen Tomlinson, PhD, author and scholar 
at the Charles Lang Freer House 

3:30-5:00PM Reception, Exhibit, and Guided Tours 

$15 General Admission 
$10 Freer House Member
$10 Students 

Seating is limited!



This Autumn marks the centenary of Freer's death in September, 1919.  It also marks the publication of the first biography on Freer's life and legacy to be published in over 25 years! The Freer House will host a very special presentation by author Helen Tomlinson, PhD, based on her exciting new book, West Meets East:  Charles L. Freer, Trailblazing Asian Art Collector, (Mascot Book, September, 2019).  The lecture will take place in the Freer House followed by a 'meet and greet' reception with the author and guided tours of the Freer House.
        Dr. Tomlinson's engrossing biography of Freer traces his journey from a humble childhood in rural New York to his industrial career and role as a major cultural force in rapidly expanding Detroit of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Tomlinson's lecture draws on Freer's diaries and letters and will highlight his extraordinary adventures around the world in search of art and his great final achievement, the establishment of America's first national art museum, the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art.  Her new biography on Freer has been described by critics as "prodigiously researched,"  "engaging," "compelling," and a "must-read."
       According to Tomlinson, Freer blazed a trail where few others ventured on the path to becoming an internationally renowned connoisseur of American and Asian art.  Fiercely independent, intensely curious and always searching for deeper meaning in the art he loved, Freer's ground breaking accomplishments continue to be heralded and admired today by curators, scholars and art lovers around the world.


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Sunday, May 19, 2019 
Freer House and Garden Tours - 1:30 and 3:30 PM

Tours for 1:30 and 3:30 are SOLD OUT 

Take a guided tour of the historic home of Detroit industrialist and world renowned art collector, Charles Lang Freer!

This is a rare opportunity to view the enitre house which is occupied by the research programs and activities of the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, Wayne State University.

Tours will be offered at 1:30 and 3:30 PM
Tours will last approximately 60-90 minutes, photography is permitted
Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your tour time for check-in

Freer House members & students: $10
General public: $15
Space is limited, advance registration is required 

Please note, due to the historic nature of the building, the Freer House is not fully handicap accessible.

Registration link: https://commerce.wayne.edu/freerhouse/events.html

For more information, contact Andrew Smutek at (313) 664-2500 or asmutek@wayne.edu

Sunday, December 2, 2018, 2 - 5 pm

Charles Lang Freer and his Adventures in Chinese Art Collecting

2:00 PM Lecture by  Daisy Yiyou Wang, PhD
The Robert N. Shapiro Curator of Chinese and East Asian Art, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
at the
Detroit Institute of Arts, Marvin and Betty Danto Lecture Hall
Lecture free with DIA admission

3:30-5 PM Reception, Exhibit & Tours
at the
Charles Lang Freer House, 71 East Ferry St., Detroit MI

$10 General Admission
$5 Students
$5 FAAC and Freer House Members

The Detroit-based industrialist Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919) was a pioneering collector of Chinese art in America. His collection laid the foundation of the world-class Chinese holdings at the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art, the national museum of Asian art. Why Chinese art? Delving into his diary, his purchasing records, and spectacular art collection, Dr. Daisy Yiyou Wang tells stories of Freer as a savvy collector, a fearless adventurer, and a visionary philanthropist. Dr. Wang also shares her new research on Freer's collecting strategies and the international art market conditions in the early years of the twentieth century. Dr. Wang's upcoming book, Charles Lang Freer and Collecting Chinese Art, is the first monograph on the formation of Freer's Chinese art collection (published by the Shanghai Fine Arts Press).

Program hosts:
Ed and Jeanette Sui

This event is hosted by: 
The Freer House, Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, Wayne State University
Co-sponsored by: 
Detroit Institute of Arts, Friends of Asian Arts and Cultures (FAAC)
Art House Lectures and Tours, Inc.
Association of Chinese Americans, Inc.
Asian Pacific Islander American News Network, Dragon Eagle TV 
Michigan US-China Exchange Center
Detroit Chinese Radio & TV Network
University of Michigan, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies
Supported by:
Americana Foundation
Kresge Foundation
Erb Family Foundation

Sunday, November 4, 2018
An Accidental Photographer in Korea: Portraits of a Lost Seoulat the Charles Lang Freer House

Exhibit Open 1:00 - 5:00pm
Artist Talk - 3:00pm

An exhibition featuring photos taken in 1969 by Margaret Condon Taylor, a Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea, who captured the rapidly evolving Korean lifestyle in the face of modernization. Marked by industrialization and population growth, Seoul was becoming a modern metropolitan center. However, Taylor managed to capture remnants of the simple daily life of Seoul, highlighting the activities and traditions of the average citizen. This exhibition is on loan from the University of Michigan, Asia Library collection.

This event is co-sponsored with the DIA in celebration of the November 4th opening of its newly expanded Asian art wing.





Saturday, November 4, 2017
Artist in ResonanceHiroko Lancour at the Charles Lang Freer House 

Exhibit Open 1:00 - 5:00pm
Artist Talk - 3:00pm

A special one-day exhibition of art by Japanese born Detroit artist, Hiroko Lancour, in the unique setting of the historic Freer House.

Hiroko Lancour, inspired by the legacy of Detroit industrialist and collector of Asian and American art, Charles Lang Freer, will display her artwork through- out the house. Select works will be available for purchase. Lancour earned an MFA from Wayne State University and has received numerous awards for her art. Visit: hirokolancour.com.

This event salutes the public opening of the DIA's new Japanese art gallery and celebrates the history of Japanese art and culture of the Freer House. Guided tours will be provided. 

POSTCARD PDF: For more information call 313-664-2500 or email William Colburn at william.colburn.wayne.edu




Sunday, June 4, 2017
From Traveler to Aesthete: Charles Lang Freer and Indian Art

Lecture - 2:00 pm
Brinda Kumar, Assistant Curator 
Department of Modern and Cotemporary Art 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Lecture Location: 
Marvin and Betty Danto Lecture Hall, DIA
Lecture Cost: 
Free with DIA Admission

followed by
Tours & Reception - 3:00 pm 
Reception Location:
Freer House, 71 E. Ferry, Detroit, MI 48202
Reception Cost:
          $10 for General Public,
          $5 for Students
          $5 for Freer House & FAAC members

Co-Sponsors: DIA's Friends of Asian Arts and Cultures 

IMAGE: Hanuman returns the mountain with the four healing plants to the Himalayas. Artist: Zayn al'-'Abidin. Folio from the Ramayana of Valmiki, vol. 2, South Asian, Mughal period, Late 16th century, Freer Gallery of Art. Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution. 

Detroit industrialist Charles Lang Freer's passion for India and Indian art influenced the formation of one of the finest early collections of Asian art in America. Freer's visionary aesthetic ideas positioned Indian art as "fine art" in an era when it was largely relegated in the West to being of only ethnographic or decorative interest. This lecture will situate Charles Lang Freer's seminal and enduring passion for India and Indian art within his larger aesthetifc and collecting project that culminated in the creation of the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution.

For more information contact Rose Foster at: 313-664-2509 or rmfoster@wayne.edu

Sunday, March 26 2017 (FLYER)
A Museum Rises:
How Charles Lang Freer's Collection of American and Asian Art Landed on America's Mall

Lecture by Geoffrey G. Drutchas
Sunday, March 26, 2017, 2 pm
The Freer House, 71 East Ferry, Detroit MI (MAP)
Reception and tours follow the lecture

  • Freer House Members $5
  • Students $5
  • General Admission $10

RSVP IS REQUIRED: space is limited: 313-664-2509 or rmfoster@wayne.edu

Parking is available behind the Freer House. Travel south on John R. to access WSU Lot 35.
Pay $7.50 by credit card at the gate. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016
Charles Lang Freer and the Discovery of Korean Ceramics

Lecture - 2 pm
Louise Cort, Curator of Ceramics
Freer | Sackler Galleries of Art, Smithsonian Institution
Location: Marvin and Betty Danto Lecture Hall, DIA
Cost: Free with DIA Admission

Tours & Reception - 3 pm 
Location: Freer House, 71 East Ferry, Detroit, MI 48202
Cost: $10 for general public, $5 for Freer House & FAAC members

DIA's Friends of Asian Arts and Cultures and Mr. David Roden
Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Korea

IMAGE: Ewer, Goryeo period, Stoneware, celadon glaze. Korea, Jeolla-do province. Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution. 

Detroit industrialist and art collector, Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919) was deeply attracted to Korean ceramics of the Joseon period (1392–1910), their simple forms, spare decoration, and monochrome glazes. Between 1896 and 1918, however, he     expanded his collection to include celadon ceramics and stoneware from the earlier Goryeo dynasty (918–1392), which had once adorned royal palaces and Buddhist temples. This talk will illuminate the scope of and the reasons for the shift in Freer's Korean ceramic collecting.

For more information contact: 313.664.2500

Sunday, April 3, 2016
Cultivating History: Revitalizing Freer's Detroit Garden
Lecture - 2 pm | Tours & reception - 3 pm
David Michener, PhD
Associate Curator, University of Michigan, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
Fred Knight
Principal, K.C. Runciman Landscapes
James Viste
Owner, Edgewise Forge, LLC
Adjunct Faculty, College for Creative Studies

Location: at Freer House, 71 East Ferry, Detroit, MI 48202
Registration: Space is limited, contact Rose Foster at 313-664-2509 or rmfoster@wayne.edu
Cost: Gen. Admission $15, Freer House Members $10, Students $5


In 1895, Freer created a truly unique garden. He turned to his friends, artists Thomas W. Dewing and Maria Oakey Dewing, landscaper Eutrope Ferrand, and architect Wilson Eyre, Jr., to give his city lot the feel of a rambling country estate. A blend of Eastern and Western plant varieties reflected Freer's interest in "points of contact" between Asian and American art. Today, the Freer House is working to revitalize the lost gardens, evoking Freer's original vision and updating it to create an inviting and sustainable environment, open to visitors and special events.
This lecture features three professionals leading the Courtyard Garden Revitalization Project: David Michener, PhD, will present his analysis of Freer's unique original plantings and suitable modern day varieties; Fred Knight will discuss the garden plan; and James Viste will describe the process of restoring the missing cast iron Peacock Room porch railing and creating historically appropriate new fencing. 

Event Archive

The Merrill-Palmer School, 1918-1930: Its Origins in Context
Catherine Daligga, PhD, Independent Scholar and Activist

Beneath the Surface: A Scientifc Investigation of Freer House's Original Decorative Paint Treatments
Cathy Selvius De Roo, PhD, Conservation Scientist, Detroit Institute of Arts
11.15.15 PDF - Flyer

The Business of Asian Art: Yamanaka & Company and Charles Lang Freer
Yuriko Kuchiki, Author and Journalist
April 26, 2015  PDF - Flyer

The Artist's Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887-1920
Anna O. Marley, PhD, Curator of Historical American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
October 10, 2014  PDF - Flyer

James McNeill Whistler: A Case for Beauty
A PBS Arts Documentary produced by Karen Thoms
September 7, 2014  PDF - Flyer

In Attendance to the Realm: the Kano School of Painters in 17th Century Japan
Yukio Lippit, PhD, Professor, History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
May 4, 2014  PDF - Flyer

Freer House Lecture Series Flyer
2013 Freer House Lecture Series Calendar (PDF)

A Thousand Graces: Freer's Pilgrimage to the Buddhist Cave Temples at Longmen
and his Collection of Chinese Art
David Hogge, Head of Archives,Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian
Daisy Yiyou Wang, PhD, curator of Chinese and East Asian Art,Peabody Essex Musem
October 20, 2013 PDF - flyer

Heels over Head: Mr. Freer, Swami Vivekananda, and the Art of Yoga
Debra Diamond, Phd
,Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian
Sunday, June 2 , 2013  PDF - flyer

Harmony in Design: Freer House, the Detroit Club and the Architecture of Wilson Eyre, Jr
Jeffrey A. Cohen, PhD, Architectural Historian, Senior Lecturer and Chair, Growth of Cities Department,
Bryn Mawr College, Philadelphia, PA
Sunday, March 10, 2013 PDF - flyer

Painting with Pottery in the Peacock Room
Louise Allison Cort, Curator for Ceramics,
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian
Sunday April 1, 2012  PDF - flyer

Whistler's Seriousness
Carole McNamara, Senior Curator of Western Art, 
University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA)
Sunday, October 23, 2011 PDF - flyer

Freer and Whistler Through Music, Art and Letters
A benefit concert event announcing the Freer House "Whistler Gallery" Restoration Project. The remarkable relationship of the famous American artist, James McNeill Whistler, and the Detroit industrialist and art collector, Charles Lang Freer, will be the focus of this special concert event.
Sunday, March 27, 2011 PDF - flyer

Lasting Legacy: Charles Lang Freer's 1910 "Exhibition of Oriental and American Art" and the University of Michigan
Anna Wieck, PhD Candidate, History of Art, University of Michigan
Mei-Chen Pan, PhD Candidate, Comparative Literature, University of Michigan
Sarah Conrad, PhD Candidate, American Culture, University of Michigan
Sunday, January 30, 2011 PDF - flyer

A Discerning Taste for Japanese Art—the Formation of Charles Lang Freer's Collection
Ann Yonemura, PhD, Senior Associate Curator of Japanese Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian
Sunday, October 24, 2010 PDF - flyer

Charles Lang Freer and Detroit's Pewabic Pottery
Thomas W. Brunk, PhD, Indepent Art and Architecture Historian
Sunday, March 28, 2010 PDF - flyer

A Benefit Concert at Freer House
A recreation of the historic first concert held at the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. on February 7, 1924 by the Library of Congress. Chamber music of diverse composers performed by the Scarab Club String Quartet.
Sunday, February 7, 2010 PDF - flyer

The Blue Room: Whistler's Peacock Room in Detroit
Linda Merrill, PhD, Visiting Professor of Art History, Emory University Whistler scholar, 
former Curator of American Art, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian
Sunday, Oct 25, 2009 PDF - flyer

Charles Lang Freer and Egypt
Dr. Massumeh Farhad, Chief Curator and Curator of Islamic Art
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 PDF - flyer

Charles Lang Freer and Egypt
Dr. Ann C. Gunter, Professor, Northwestern University 
Former Curator of Ancient Near Eastern Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian
Sunday, May 3, 2009   PDF - flyer

Pretty Women: Freer and Feminine Beauty
Dr. Kenneth John Myers, Curator of American Art and Head of the Department of American Art,
Detroit Institute of Arts
February 8, 2009   PDF - flyer

Freer Gallery Surface Beauty: American Art and Freer's Aesthetic Vision 
Lee Glazer, Ph.D., Curator of American Art, Freer Gallery of Art Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian
November 9, 2008   PDF - presentation         PDF - flyer