Tuesday 10 January 2012

Julian Alden Weir - part 1

In my recent post on American artist John Henry Twachtman I mentioned that he was a close friend of fellow artist Julian Alden Weir (1852 – 1919), another member of the Cos Cob Art Colony near Greenwich, Connecticut. Weir was also one of “The Ten,” a loosely-allied group of American artists dissatisfied with professional art organizations, who banded together in 1898 to exhibit their works as a stylistically-unified group.

Weir was born and raised in West Point, New York, the son of painter Robert Walter Weir, a professor of drawing at the Military Academy at West Point. His older brother, John Ferguson Weir, also became a well-known landscape artist who also painted in the styles of the Hudson River and Barbizon schools.

Julian Weir attended the National Academy of Design in the early 1870s before enrolling at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris in 1873. Weir also encountered impressionism for the first time, and reacted strongly: "I never in my life saw more horrible things...They do not observe drawing nor form but give you an impression of what they call nature. It was worse than the Chamber of Horrors."

Weir met James McNeill Whistler in London before returning to New York City in 1877. His works as a young artist centered on still life and the human figure. In the 1880s Weir moved to rural Ridgefield, Connecticut and became a good friend of artists John Henry Twachtman and Albert Pinkham Ryder. The art of Weir and Twachtman was especially well-aligned, and the two sometimes painted and exhibited together - both taught at the Art Students League. Weir was also close friends with the still life and landscape painter Emil Carlsen who spent summers with Weir on his farm, before purchasing his own home in Falls River, Connecticut.

By 1891 Weir had reconciled his earlier misgivings about impressionism and adopted the style as his own. Through the remainder of the 1890s and 20th century Weir painted impressionist landscapes and figurative works, many of which centred on his Connecticut farms at Branchville and Windham. He also became skilled at etching (see part 3 coming up).

In 1912 Weir was selected the first president of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, but resigned a year later following the association's sponsorship of the modernist Armory Show, Weir later became president of the National Academy of Design. He died in 1919.

c1875-90 The Red Bridge 
oil on canvas 62 x 86 cm

1876-7 At the Water Trough 
oil on canvas 44 x 36 cm

c1876-82 Union Square 
oil on canvas 76 x 63 cm

1878 Children Burying a Bird 
oil on canvas 56 x 46 cm

c1878 A French Homestead 
oil on canvas 51 x 61 cm

1880 Flowers 
watercolour and gouache on board 66 x 56 cm

c1880-89 The Road to No-Where 
oil on canvas 37 x 51 cm

1883-4 Roses 
oil on canvas 89 x 61 cm

1885 Two Women Sewing 
watercolour 25 x 35 cm

1886 Connecticut Farm 
oil on canvas 89 x 115 cm

1888 Idle Hours 
oil on canvas 130 x 181 cm

1888 Studio Tea

1890 Autumn Rain 
oil on canvas 41 x 62 cm

c1890 The Lane 
oil on wood panel 26 x 39 cm

1891 The Grey Trellis 
oil on canvas 66 x 55 cm

1891 The Open Book 
oil on canvas 81 x 74 cm

1895 The Ice Cutters 
oil on canvas 51 x 61 cm

1897 Lengthening Shadows

1897 Midday Rest in New England 
oil on canvas 101 x 128 cm

1897 The Factory Village 
oil on canvas 74 x 97 cm

1897 The Rabbit Hunter 
oil on canvas 56 x 46 cm

1898 The Grey Bodice 
oil on canvas 77 x 64 cm

c1899-1902 The High Pasture 
oil on canvas 61 x 85 cm

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