Home Events Guiding Luminaries, Charles L. Freer and John A. Pope: Establishing the Freer Gallery’s Chinese Ceramic Collection


  • Jan Stuart
    Jan Stuart
    Melvin R. Seiden Curator for Chinese Art Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art Washington, DC

    Jan Stuart started her career as a Chinese art curator at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, and then moved to the British Museum as Keeper of Asia between 2006 and 2014, returning to the Freer and Sackler as the first Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art. In addition to senior management at the British Museum, a highlight was leading the collaboration to create the Sir Joseph Hotung Centre for Ceramic Studies, which houses the Sir Percival David Collection of Chinese art. Back at the Freer and Sackler, Stuart played a leading role in renovating the late imperial Chinese art galleries at the Freer (2017) and organizing exhibitions for the Sackler, including Red: Ming and Rothko (2016) and the international exhibition, Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644-1912, with an eponymous publication with Daisy Yiyou Wang and the Palace Museum (2018-19). With degrees in Chinese art from Yale and Princeton Universities, Stuart is active as a curator, lecturer, and author in the field, including a seminal work on ancestor portraits, Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits (2001 with E. Rawski). She is currently beginning research for a book on the Freer Gallery of Art’s Chinese ceramic collection.


New York


18 Sep 2021


Please note this is US EST (GMT-4:00)
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Guiding Luminaries, Charles L. Freer and John A. Pope: Establishing the Freer Gallery’s Chinese Ceramic Collection

Gallery-founder, Charles Lang Freer (1854—1919), and the Gallery’s third director, John Alexander Pope (1906 –1982), were the guiding luminaries behind the strong, multidimensional nature of the Freer Gallery of Art’s Chinese ceramic collection, which houses almost 1,000 artworks, plus sherds. Freer and Pope, from contrasting upbringings, developed distinct aesthetic preferences and tactics for collecting, while also encountering different markets.

This talk explores Freer’s and Pope’s backgrounds and complementary views and approaches to Chinese ceramics, which taken together established a formidable foundation making the Freer Gallery of Art a center for Chinese ceramics.

This is a live event taking place in Sotheby’s New York, 1334 York Avenue, New York, NY, 10021, USA.  There will be a Reception and Viewing of the Asia Week Exhibitions following the lecture.

Booking is obligatory. Please follow this link. 

Numbers are limited with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. Upon entering the premises for an event, all guests will be asked to wear a mask and will need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken in the 48 hours before the event start time.


The lecture is kindly hosted by Sotheby’s New York

The Oriental Ceramic Society
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