|Media only: Brenda Kean Tabor: 202.357.4880 ext. 319
Barbara Kram: 202.357.4880 ext. 219
Public only: 202.357.2700
Media preview: Monday, September 9, 9 a.m. Call 202.357.4880 ext. 218 to attend.Palaces and Pavilions: Grand Architecture in Chinese Painting
Twenty-six paintings, one work of calligraphy and two three-dimensional objects will be on view at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art (Independence Avenue at 12th Street S.W.) from Sept. 29, to March 30, 2003 in “Palaces and Pavilions: Grand Architecture in Chinese Painting,” an exhibition illustrating how imperial structures and mythical Daoist palaces have been pictured over the centuries in Chinese art.
“Despite its imposing quality and intricate detail, grand architecture is seldom the primary subject of Chinese painting and often serves merely as a decorative backdrop to human events and activities,” says curator Stephen Allee. Nevertheless, grand historical palaces and pleasure houses populated by courtiers and palace women, and palaces in paradise and other imaginary places populated by goddesses and other immortals, have frequently been depicted over the centuries in a broad range of styles and media and described in famous works of literature.
Many of the works seen here, which date from the 13th-century through the 18th-century, were meticulously painted in bright colors on silk while others were executed in monochrome ink using either the free-hand linear “baihua” (plain outline) style or the intricate ruled line “jiehua” method of painting, the only non-freehand style of Chinese painting. Highlights include:
The Freer Gallery of Art (12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W.) and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (1050 Independence Ave. S.W.) together form the national museum of Asian art for the United States. The Freer also houses a major collection of late 19th and early 20th-century American art. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and admission is free. Public tours are offered daily. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, the public may call 202.357.2700 or TTY 202.357.1729, or visit the galleries’ Web site at asia.si.edu.