In a visit to Washington, the Japanese prime minister announced that his country would donate $1 million to two Washington museums that feature Asian art, the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
At first, it may seem like an aesthetic change, a revolution in the way one man represented the world. But in the end, a Freer Gallery exhibition devoted to James McNeill Whistler feels more like an evolution in consciousness, a cultural or psychological shift rather than an artistic or technical one.
On Day 2 of this coquettish spring, ashen skies cleared just enough so that the Freer Gallery of Art’s monthly afternoon of sun-worshiping was not in vain.
A staff member wearing gloves to protect oil paint from oily hands announced that noon had come and gone; they were four minutes late. It was time to arouse the dueling peacocks and the fair-faced princess of porcelain; time to allow this chameleonic room to dazzle its eager guests.