DETROIT'S Charles Freer made millions building railroad cars (Peninsular Car Works), retired at 44 to collect art on a grand scale. He bought some 9,000 objects, built a Washington museum to house them, and willed the whole collection to the Government. In the 32 years since its opening, the Freer Gallery has delighted millions of visitors. Its Chinese painting collection has only one rival outside of China (Boston's Museum of Fine Arts), and includes hundreds of masterpieces on a plane with the Sung Dynasty ink drawing at left.

But if Collector Freer (who died in 1919) had a hawk eye for...

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