In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, this exhibit showcases one object from the Weir Farm National Historic Site.
Julian Alden Weir, a leading American Impressionist artist and master landscape painter, was born in 1852 to Robert Walter Weir and Susan Bayard Weir. He grew up in the Hudson River highlands, where his father taught drawing at the West Point Military Academy. Julian's early art education took place in his father's studio--a grand room filled with armor, etchings by the old masters, and plaster casts of ancient sculpture. Julian started studies at the National Academy of Design in New York City when he was 18 years old. Three years at the academy were followed by four years in Paris studying with Jean-Leon Gerome at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.
Weir Farm National Historic Site, WEFA
Weir returned to New York City in 1877 to begin his professional career. He was vibrant, outgoing, friendly, talented, and handsome. Close friend and sculptor Olin Levi Warner (1844- 1896) captured Weir's energy and vigor in this 1880 plaster bust. A New York Times critic wrote, “As a portrait-bust it may be pronounced the finest, most virile work yet exhibited in New-York ...the tum of the head showing the tendons and veins of the neck, the modeling which gives energy to the chin, the vivacity of the eye-sockets, the delicate manipulation of the lips, give it an intensity of life that one seldom sees in any statuary.”
The bust was cast in bronze in 1897-98 and is in private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum.
This plaster bust can be seen at Weir Farm National Historic Site where it is on exhibit as part of the historically furnished Weir House.
Park museum staff from Weir Farm National Historic Site.
National Park Service, Museum Management Program Staff: Amber Dumler, Stephen Damm, Ron Wilson, and Joan Bacharach