Collections: American

Charles Lang Freer, a Detroit businessman, began collecting works by living American artists in the 1880s. In 1890, he met James McNeill Whistler, whose style had been influenced by Japanese prints and Chinese ceramics. Following the artist’s advice, Freer began acquiring Asian art, amassing a fine array of both American and Asian works that ultimately would form the Freer Gallery of Art. The American collection features an unparalleled selection of Whistler’s work, including the famous Peacock Room. Freer also gathered significant holdings by Dwight Tryon, Thomas Dewing, Abbott Thayer, and such Gilded Age artists as Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Willard Metcalf, and Childe Hassam.

Browse artworks in this section »

This post is also available in: 한국어 Español 简体中文

Archival image of Freer studying a scroll

The Power to See Beauty

Light from the open shutters illuminates the Peacock Room.

The Peacock Room

detail, A Perfect Harmony cover

A Perfect Harmony


The Freer’s Saint-Gaudens Bronzes

detail from the painting "A Virgin" - a woman with clouds behind her to suggest wings walks with two children

Support our Collections

Detail of La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine in the Peacock Room

Story of the Beautiful