Dewing’s Poetic World

Freer, gallery 10

Best known for his tonal compositions featuring a solitary female figure lost in thought, Thomas Wilmer Dewing was in reality part of an active social network of collectors, painters, and art dealers. Why do the women in his paintings appear to be passive sitters, locked in quiet isolation, when his own life was a whirl of dinner parties, dances, and theatrical performances? Archival photographs provide insight into Dewing’s dynamic lifestyle at the Cornish art colony he established with his wife, artist Maria Oakley Dewing, in New Hampshire. Exploring Dewing’s social connections reveals how his art was influenced by his friendships with Charles Lang Freer, who encouraged him to pursue Japonisme, and with architect Stanford White, who designed the elaborate frames for many of his paintings on view in this intriguing exhibition.