Individually scheduled press tours for “A Collector’s Eye: Freer in Egypt”
Open to the public Jan. 28
Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, Freer Gallery of Art
1050 Independence Ave. S.W.
Antonietta Catanzariti, associate curator for the Ancient Near East

Members of the media are invited to view the National Museum of Asian Art’s exhibition “A Collector’s Eye: Freer in Egypt.” A short distance from the steps of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., rises the Washington Monument, one of the city’s most distinct icons and an embodiment of America’s attraction to Egypt’s ancient past. Like many cultured 19th-century Americans, Charles Lang Freer was intrigued by ancient Egypt. Between 1906 and 1909, he visited the country three times on his way to destinations further east. These voyages were crucial in nurturing his interest in ancient Egyptian art, which to him was the “greatest art in the world.” During these years, he acquired a range of works, including the renowned Washington Codex—one of the oldest Bibles in the world—a digital copy of which will be on view in the gallery. He also collected an exceptional group of New Kingdom Egyptian glass vessels, a Byzantine jewelry set, amulets and hundreds of beads, many of which will be seen in this exhibition for the first time and are available to view online.

“This is a small and eclectic collection with objects that tell interesting stories about collecting practices in a period that showed an increased interest in Ancient Egypt. We often talk about the Egyptian objects, that is, the items in themselves. ‘A Collector’s Eye’ attempts to talk about the people behind this Egyptian Collection, not only Freer and why he sought to collect Egyptian art but also the local dealers and their stories.” – Antonietta Catanzariti, associate curator for the Ancient Near East

Note to editors: Members of the media can contact Jennifer Mitchell at for more information, or to schedule a time to speak with the curator and tour the exhibition.