American, 1852-1919

Rhododendrons, ca. 1900

oil on canvas
signed lower left "J. Alden Weir"
20 x 24 inches

  • Provenance: Property from a distinguished American collection.
  • Exhibited: Orlando, Florida, Orlando Museum of Art, "Hidden Treasures: American Paintings from Florida Private Collections," January 4 - February 23, 1992.
  • Literature: Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., "A Connecticut Place: Weir Farm, An American Painter's Rural Retreat," (Weir Farm Trust, 2000), p. 109, fig. 94 (illustrated).; Josiah B. Millet (ed.), "Julian Alden Weir: An Appreciation of his Life and Works," (New York, New York: The Century Club, 1921), p. 135. (Lists "Rhododendrons," 20 x 24 inches, in the collection of R.C. and N.M. Vose. This is probably the present lot.)

    Framed dimensions: 29 x 33 x 2 1/2 inches

    Julian Alden Weir was the son of historical painter Robert W. Weir, who served as the drawing instructor at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York for over forty years. Although many of the Weir family were painters, J. Alden unquestionably established the career of most renown.

    Weir originally studied painting under his father and then studied at the National Academy of Design in New York before traveling to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1873. He returned to the United States late in 1877 and began teaching classes at the Cooper Institute and the Art Students League in New York.

    In the 1880s Weir moved to rural Wilton, Connecticut, after having acquired farm property, now the Weir Farm National Historic Site, through his marriage to Anna Baker in 1883. While there, he strengthened his friendship with artists Albert Pinkham Ryder and John Henry Twachtman. The paintings of Weir and Twachtman are 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.[5]

    Around 1890 Weir began adopting an Impressionist style, which suited his growing interest in painting landscapes. He continued to gain 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.

    He was soon considered to be a leading member of the new Impressionist group of painters emerging in America at that time. In 1898, along with Twachtman, he became one of the founding members of The Ten, a group including Willard Metcalf, Childe Hassam, Edmund Tarbell and Thomas Dewing. The group exhibited together and rebelled against what they regarded as mediocrity and conservatism in American Art.

    Rhododendrons is a prime example of Weir's ability to use color, light and shadows to create an exceptional example of American Impressionism at its best.

    Tags: listed artist, oil painting, floral, landscape, 20th century, American Impressionism, Connecticut, the Ten
  • Condition: in overall very good condition; very minor restoration apparent under UV light; lined canvas; in a period frame

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April 28, 2022 6:00 PM EDT
Milford, CT, US

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