Julian Alden Weir USA
8-30-1852 West Point, USA - 12-8-1919 New York, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Julian Alden Weir father was painter Robert Walter Weir, a professor of drawing at the Military Academy at West Point who taught such artists as James Abbott McNeill Whistler. 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. He was professor of painting and design at Yale University from 1869, starting the first academic art program on an American campus.
Julian Alden Weir received his first art training at the National Academy of Design in the early 1870s before enrolling at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1873. While in France he studied under the famous French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme, and became good friends with Jules Bastien-Lepage.
Weir met James McNeill Whistler in London before returning to New York City in 1877. Upon his return to NYC, Weir became a charter member of the Society of American Artists and continued exhibiting his work at the National Academy of Design, where he first displayed his paintings in 1875.
His works as a young artist centered on still life and the human figure, which he rendered in a realist style not unlike the work of Édouard Manet. This was supported by the fact that Julian Alden Weir purchased two paintings by Manet during the summers of 1880 and 1881. It was clear by then that Weir was beginning to lose his previous staunch loathing for French Impressionism.
In the 1880s Weir moved to rural Ridgefield, Connecticut after having acquired farm property through his marriage to Anna Baker in 1883. While here, he strengthened his friendship with artists Albert Pinkham Ryder and John Henry Twachtman. 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. In 1889, the two artists exhibited and sold a large portion of their paintings at Ortgies Gallery in New York.
By 1891 Julian Alden Weir had reconciled his earlier misgivings about impressionism and adopted the style as his own. His one-man show at the Blakeslee gallery in the same year clearly displayed his new found affinity for the Impressionist style. His wife Anna died in 1892, but Weir remarried her sister, Ella Baker, the same year. By this new marriage, he inherited another farm in Windham, CT.
Weir gained further notoriety and in 1893, the American Art Association grouped his works together with those by Twachtman for a comparative exhibit with pieces done by Claude Monet and Paul Besnard. Such a prestigious event meant that the art world had taken notice of the American brand of Impressionism.
In 1897, Julian Alden Weir became a member of the Ten American Painters, generally known as The Ten, a group of painters who left the Society of American Artists in late 1897 to protest the what they saw as the overemphasis on Classical and Romantic Realism over Impressionism by the Society.
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.
Art Movement: Impressionism
Influences: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Jules Bastien-Lepage