The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art at Connecticut's New Britain Museum of American Art explores the impact of studying artistic traditions in Europe on the development of American art forms.
A total of 74 paintings on display by Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889) and his sons John Ferguson Weir (1841-1926) and Julian Alden Weir (1851-1919) demonstrate how their transatlantic encounters helped shape American art for nearly a century.
Robert Walter Weir, the patriarch of the talented family, was one of the first Americans to travel to Italy for art study (1824-1827). After his return, he became a leader in the New York art scene and gained a reputation as a history painter. In 1834, he accepted the position of instructor of drawing at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he remained for 42 years. His best known painting is his large Embarkation of the Pilgrims for the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.
Among Robert Weir’s more famous pupils were his sons, John and Julian, who like their father became artists and teachers. After establishing his reputation with two large paintings of industrial scenes, John took his first of several European tours before he began his 44-year teaching career at Yale University. There he established the first academic art program at an educational institution in the United States, basing his teaching on the French atelier system.
Julian studied under this system at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris for four years (1873-1877). Excelling as an academic painter, he later embraced Impressionism, becoming a leader of the American Impressionists.
The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art
June 30 - Sept. 30, 2012
New Britain Museum of American Art
56 Lexington Street
New Britain, CT 06052