Artist’s Rendering

Posted November 21, 2003 at 2:55pm

When visitors attend the new James Whistler show at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery, they won’t just get to see the artist’s etchings and paintings. They’ll get to see the works displayed in exhibition designs created by the artist himself more than 100 years ago. The show — “Mr. Whistler’s Galleries: Avant-garde in Victorian London” — opened last week and features new versions of Whistler’s “Arrangement in White and Yellow” (above) and “Arrangement in Flesh Colour and Grey.” Both displays — featuring identically framed artwork hung widely apart on plain, lightly colored walls — were radical at the time, breaking from the conventional art displays of the day. The exhibit, held in conjunction with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, runs through April.