Lasting Legacy: Charles Lang Freer's 1910 'Exhibition of Oriental and American Art' and the University of Michigan


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  • Host Department: History of Art
  • Date: 01/30/2011
  • Time: 2:00PM - 3:00PM

  • Location: The Freer House (Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute/WSU) 71 E. Ferry Street, Detroit

  • Description: One hundred years ago a groundbreaking exhibition organized by Charles L. Freer, the Detroit industrialist and art collector, marked the opening of the University of Michigan’s Alumni Memorial Hall (today’s University of Michigan Museum of Art). This art exhibition won rave reviews locally and nationally for its innovative display methods and conceptual union of art from both Eastern and Western traditions. Freer’s aesthetic and scholarly contributions to U-M endure a century later. A result of a joint project initiated by the Friends of the Freer House with the U-M Museum Studies Program, this one-hour lecture by U-M doctoral candidates Anna Wieck, Mei-Chen Pan, and Sarah Gothie, sheds new light on this landmark exhibition, illuminating its significance to the University of Michigan and its relationship to Freer’s life and home in Detroit.
    The 1910 exhibition included major works from Freer’s Detroit collection as well as American and Asian art loaned by artists and collectors from across the nation. It also featured works by many Michigan artists of the period. Thousands of visitors travelled to Ann Arbor to see this three-week special exhibition, the first to fully reflect Freer’s unique aesthetic vision.

    About the speakers:

    Anna Wieck is a third-year PhD student in the history of art. Her dissertation will focus on folklore, regionalism and nationalism in early 20th-century Spanish painting. She is also pursuing a graduate certificate in museum studies.

    Mei-Chen Pan is a PhD candidate in comparative literature. Her dissertation will discuss womens’ physical mobility and their writing in modern Chinese and Japanese literature. She is also a graduate student in museum studies.

    Sarah Conrad Gothie is a PhD student in American culture specializing in museum studies and food studies.

    Parking information: parking is available in the WSU lot behind the Freer House. Enter off John R. Street between E. Palmer and E. Ferry.