The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art is the first major exhibition to examine collectively the paintings of the American artists Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889) and his two sons, John Ferguson Weir (1841-1926) and Julian Alden Weir (1851-1919). In doing so it traces the trajectory of American art across the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, exploring the wide range of styles in which Robert and his sons worked, as well as the way in which their transatlantic encounters helped to shape their art.
Robert Weir was one of the first American artists to study in Italy, working there from 1824-27. Upon his return to America he became an associate at the recently-founded National Academy in New York in 1829 and, a few years later, an instructor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was renowned for his talent as a portraitist and a history painter (he painted one of the murals in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.). Robert’s first son John trained with his father as well as in Europe. He then taught at Yale University for forty-four years, establishing the first academic art program at a university in this country. Early in his career he painted history and genre scenes, but was also an adept society portraitist. John’s younger brother, Julian, was educated at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1873-77. Although he initially expressed disdain for Impressionism and worked in an academic style, he later embraced the new movement and became one of the country’s leading Impressionist artists.
This exhibition was organized by Weir expert Marian Wardle for the Brigham Young University Art Museum, which is a major repository for works by these artists due to its relationship with one of the family’s descendants. It features more than 70 important paintings drawn from public and private collections and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring essays by leading scholars in the field, available in the Mint Museum Shops for $49.95. Mint Museum Uptown is the final venue for the exhibition, which has already appeared at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and the New Britain Museum of American Art.
This exhibition was organized by the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and foundation sponsor, the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional assistance has been provided by Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley and the Milton A. and Gloria G. Barlow Foundation. Presentation in Charlotte of The Weir Family is generously made possible by McColl Brothers Lockwood and McColl Partners, and the Mint Museum Auxiliary.