Artist: Dwight William Tryon (1849-1925)
Historical period(s)
Oil on canvas
H x W: 71 x 154.6 cm (27 15/16 x 60 7/8 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Oil painting

landscape, sunrise, United States

From 1893 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from the artist, Dwight William Tryon in 1893 [1]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [2]


[1] Purchased from Dwight William Tryon on April 12, 1893 (see Curatorial Remark 5, Linda Merrill, May 1989, in the object record).

[2] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Dwight William Tryon (C.L. Freer source) 1849-1925
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


In 1891, Tryon offered to paint a picture or two for the house Charles Lang Freer was building in Detroit,  "a dream of Beauty," as it was described, "inside and out." Freer readily accepted Tryon's offer, and before long the commission had grown to include seven paintings for the main hall: Summer (F1893.15), Autumn (F1893.16), Winter (F1893.17), Springtime (F1893.14) and Dawn. In these "decorations," as Tryon called these paintings, the artist attempted to maintain the classic "purity" of the interior design by keeping a consistent horizon in every scene. Although some of the paintings were occassionaly exhibited separately, Freer and Tryon always regarded them as an "ensemble."

Dawn was the final painting in the decorative cycle for Freer's hall, where it hung above one mantel of a doublesided fireplace. Dawn was conceived as a site-specific work, but Tryon and Freer also anticipated its periodic absence. The space behind the picture was paneled in oak so that, as the artist explained to Freer,  "when the picture is removed (for exhibition and other uses) the room will appear complete." At Tryon's request, Freer lent Dawn to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1901, to a solo exhibition in New York in 1903, and to a "small tasteful" showing of works by Dewing and Tryon in New York in 1907.

Published References
  • Thomas W. Brunk. The House that Freer Built. no. 3, Spring 1981. p. 18.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 24, fig. 12.
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. p. 28.
  • Charles Henry Caffin. The Art of Dwight W. Tryon: An Appreciation. New York. p. 72.
  • Henry C. White, Houghton Mifflin Co. The Life and Art of Dwight William Tryon. Boston and New York, 1930. pp. 82-83.
  • Linda Merrill. An Ideal Country: Paintings by Dwight William Tryon in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Hanover and London, 1990. cat. 12, pp. 112-117.
  • Melody Barnett Deusner. Aesthetic Painting in Britain and America: Collectors, Art Worlds, Networks. London, England, November 17, 2020. p. 186, fig. 88e.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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