Julian Alden Weir Biography | Oil Paintings

8-30-1852 West Point, New York USA - 12-8-1919 New York, NY USA

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Weir, Julian Alden

Julian Alden Weir had fifteen brothers and sisters, his father was the famous painter Robert Walter Weir, who was a professor of drawing at the Military Academy at West Point, one of his students being James Abbott McNeill Whistler. His older brother, John Ferguson Weir, a professor of painting at Yale University also became a well-known landscape artist in the styles of the Hudson River and Barbizon Schools.

Julian Alden Weir first art training was at the National Academy of Design for a year and a half, he then in 1873 he sailed to France, enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and studied under the famous artist Jean-Léon Gérôme, he also became good friends with Jules Bastien-Lepage while at the school. While in France, he saw the some of the Impressionism paintings that were now showing in public, and he hated them, partly due to the training he received with was completely opposite of the loose Impressionists and because it was something new.

Upon finishing his training in Paris, Weir stopped off in London for a while and there he met James McNeill Whistler before returning to New York City in 1877. Upon his return to America, Weir became a charter member of the Society of American Artists and again started to exhibit his work at the National Academy of Design, which he had done before his overseas trip.

Alden Weir, I hate Impressionism, I Love Impressionism.

In his early works, he fixated on painting still life and the human figure, which he painted in a style like that of Édouard Manet. Weir was starting to lose his previous staunch hatred of French Impressionism and purchased two paintings by Manet in 1880 and 1881.

In 1883 Weir married Anna Baker who owned a farm in the rustic countryside of Ridgefield, Connecticut, and in the late 1880s, Weir moved there. While in Ridgefield, he reinforced his friendship with artist Albert Pinkham Ryder and became a best friend of John Henry Twachtman. The art of Weir and Twachtman was somewhat similar, so the two sometimes painted and displayed together and both taught at the Art Students League. In 1889, Twachtman and Weir exhibited at Ortgies Gallery in New York and sold a large part of their paintings.

By 1891 Julian Alden Weir had reconciled his earlier hesitations and disdain about Impressionism and embraced the style as his own. His one-man show at the Blakeslee Gallery that year displayed his new found affinity for the Impressionist style. In 1892, his wife Anna died, and wasting no time, he remarried with her sister, Ella Baker, the same year and in the process inherited another farm in Windham, CT.

Weir increased further his reputation because, in 1893, the American Art Association assembled his and Twachtman's works together for a comparative exhibit with pieces done by Claude Monet and Paul Besnard. Such a lofty occasion implied, that the art world had paid heed to the American brand of Impressionism.

In 1897, Julian Alden Weir became a member of The Ten American Painters, a group of painters who left the Society of American Artists in 1897 in protest because the Society was overemphasizing too much on Classical and Romantic Realism and not enough on Impressionism.

In 1912 Weir was elected as the first president of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, but he only stayed a year, resigning in protest over the association's sponsorship of the avant-garde Armory Show, which was showing art even more modern than his. Weir later became president of the National Academy of Design.

Art Movement: Impressionism.
Artists Influencing Julian Alden Weir: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Jules Bastien-Lepage.
He Traveled To France, England.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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