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Story of the Beautiful

Explore the Peacock Room by James McNeill Whistler and delve into its dynamic history through this major online resource, the result of collaboration between the Freer Gallery of Art and Wayne State University. Enter digital recreations of the Peacock Room at two historical moments (Victorian London and America in the Gilded Age) and learn more about the diverse Asian ceramics on its shelves. Browse the collections and use the interactive timeline and map to discover chronological and geographical connections of cultural interchange.

This project was supported with grants from the Smithsonian Web 2.0 fund and the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts. 

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The story of the beautiful is already complete — Hewn in the marbles of the Parthenon — And broidered, with the birds, upon the fan of Hokusai.

—James McNeill Whistler,
Ten O'Clock Lecture, 1885




Please note: The Freer Gallery of Art will be closed to the public from January 2016 until summer 2017. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Library, and Archives will remain open for the duration of the renovation. Learn more »