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Smithsonian curator to speak on Whistler

March  14, 2014

Dr. Lee Glazer of the Smithsonian Institution will talk about the Peacock Room, James McNeill Whistler's masterpiece of interior decoration, at 7:30 p.m. March 26  in Centennial Hall. The talk is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

Her lecture is titled, "Heirloom of the Artist: Rethinking Whistler's Peacock Room."

Dr. Glazer is an associate curator of American Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. She recently reinstalled the Peacock Room to match its appearance in 1908, and will speak on the ways in which the Peacock Room, has intersected with the history of collecting Asian ceramics in the West. She is the author of the accompanying publication, "The Peacock Room Comes to America" (2012).

The Peacock Room began as a Victorian dining room filled with blue-and-white porcelain of the Kangxi era. It later became an aesthetic laboratory where the Gilded Age collector Charles Lang Freer juxtaposed a wide variety of roughly textured, subtly glazed ceramics from all over Asia.

Far from being a static icon of Victorian aestheticism, the Peacock Room has had a dynamic, international history. The stories that it can tell are as much about Asian ceramics and shifting points of contact between East and West, as they are about Whistler's decorative harmonies.

Since coming to the Freer and Sackler galleries in 2007, Dr. Glazer has organized a series of collections-based exhibitions including "Winslow Homer: Four Views of Nature"; "Seascapes: Tryon and Sugimoto"; and "Chinamania: Whistler and the Victorian Craze for Blue-and-White Porcelain." She is the author of "A Perfect Harmony: The American Collection in the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art" (2013), and co-editor of "James McNeill Whistler in Context" (2008), "East West Interchanges in American Art" 2012), and "Palaces of Art: Whistler and the Art Worlds of Aestheticism" (2013).

This lecture is sponsored by the Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Arts, which was established in 1994 by a bequest from the estate of the late Paul A. Anderson, Augustana alumnus, former member of the Augustana Board of Trustees and successful Chicago Board of Trade commodities broker.

Augustana is home to the Centre for Whistler Criticism, headed by Dr. Catherine Carter Goebel, the Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Arts and professor and chair of art history, who is an international authority on Whistler. 

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833