Monday, June 25, 2012
The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art
New Britain Museum of American Art
June 30 - Sept. 30, 2012
Opening Reception:5:30-7:30 p.m., Friday, June 29, 2012
New Britain Museum of American Art 56 Lexington Street New Britain, CT 06052
About the exhibition
The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art, was organized by the Brigham Young University Museum of Art. It is the first major exhibition to collectively examine paintings by Robert Walter Weir, John Ferguson Weir, and Julian Alden Weir. It showcases important pieces from museum and private collections across the country, many of which have never been seen together. The exhibition explores how the transatlantic encounters of the Weir family of artists helped to shape American art for nearly a century.
The exhibition includes seldom-seen paintings from the collections of the Weir family and from the large Weir holdings of the Brigham Young University Museum of Art. The BYU holdings, which include paintings by Robert, John, and Julian Weir came to the university from the estate of the artist Mahonri Young, who was married to J. Alden Weir’s daughter Dorothy.
A fully illustrated catalogue with new essays by leading scholars in American art history and cultural studies accompanies the exhibition.
Robert Walter Weir
Robert began his artistic study in 1820 at the Academy of Design in New York City and then traveled to Italy for further training. He studied in Florence and Rome from 1824 to 1827. After returning to the United States, he married Louisa Ferguson and they became the parents of eight children, including John Ferguson Weir. On 8 May 1834, Robert was appointed professor of drawing at West Point, where he remained for the next forty-two years. After Louisa’s death from complications of childbirth, Robert married Susan Martha Bayard.
John Ferguson Weir
John received his initial art training from his father, Robert Walter Weir. He made several trips overseas, but did not complete any formal art study abroad. John is perhaps best known for founding the first studio arts program at Yale University, the first program of its kind at an American school. He served as director of the Yale School of Fine Arts for forty-four years, from 1869 to 1913. John married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Hannah French on 17 May 1866 in the Church of the Holy Innocents at West Point, which had been designed by his father Robert in honor of his mother Louisa. John and Mary had two daughters, Clara “Louise” and Edith Dean Weir.
Julian Alden Weir
From 1874 to 1877, Julian studied art at the renowned École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, under the tutelage of French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme. During the course of his studies, he befriended fellow artists like Jules Bastien-Lepage and made several trips to the French countryside as well as Spain. He often went by the name “J. Alden Weir” emphasizing the name of his benefactress, Mrs. Percy Alden, who financed his studies abroad. Julian was involved in various American art societies including the Tile Club and “The Ten.” He also served as president of the Society of American Artists as well as the National Academy of Design.
Works of Art Included in the Exhibition :
Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), Normandy Farm, Oil on panel, c. 1874-76, Brigham Young University Museum of Art, Purchase/gift of Mahonri M. Young Estate
Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), Against the Window, 1884, oil on canvas, 36 1/8 x 29 in., private collection.
Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), Silver Chalice with Roses, 1882, oil on canvas, 12 x 9 in., Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), Moorish Figure, Brigham Young University Museum of Art
Julian Alden Weir, (1852-1919), In the Sun, 1899, oil on canvas, 3315/16 x 26 15/15 in. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, Purchase/gift of Mahonri M. Young Estate.
Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889), Picnic along the Hudson, 1881 oil on canvas, 20 1/8 x 30 1/8 in.. Palmer Museum of Art of the Pennsylvania State University, 2000.95.
Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889), Taking the Veil, 1863, oil on canvas, 49 1/2 x 39 3/4 in., Yale University Art Gallery.
Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), Milkmaid of Popindrecht, 1881 oil on canvas, 76 1/2 x 51 in., Brigham Young University Museum of Art, Purchase/gift of Mahonri M. Young Estate.
Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889), Embarkations of the Pilgrims, 1837-44, oil on canvas, 144 x 216 in. U.S. Capitol Rotunda.