The Weir Family, 1820–1920

Expanding the Traditions of American Art

Edited by Marian Wardle

Much recent scholarship in American art history and cultural studies examines cross-cultural exchanges in the shaping of American art and culture. This lavishly illustrated volume contributes to this endeavor by exploring, through seven scholarly essays and more than 150 color and back-and-white images, how the transatlantic encounters of three of America’s most notable nineteenth- and early twentieth-century artists helped mold American art. Robert Walter Weir (1803–1889) and his sons John Ferguson Weir (1841–1926) and Julian Alden Weir (1852–1919) saw themselves as heirs to European art traditions and repeatedly crossed the Atlantic to connect with their artistic heritage. Yet they lived, painted, and taught in New York and New England, where they were leaders in American art. Robert taught art at West Point, John founded the first academic art program on a U.S. college campus at Yale, and Julian was a major American impressionist. Their combined works provide a compendium of the painting genres produced in Europe and America across an entire century. Through letters, diaries, histories, and paintings, this book examines the lives of the American men and women of the Weir art dynasty and their explorations of the wider world—from the Hudson River Valley to London, Paris, and Rome.

Cover Image of The Weir Family
Cloth: $49.95
ISBN-13: 9781611680218
Pages: 212 | Size: 8.75 in. x 11.25 in.
Date Published: December 13, 2011


  • This book is the first to be devoted to scholarship on all of the Weirs. . . . [It] offers abundant illustrations and scholarly essays that are accessibly written and rigorously documented. . . . Highly recommended.

  • By tackling the subject of the Weir art dynasty and analyzing the complex matrix of events and circumstances surrounding their uniquely American posture during a critical period in the formation of American art, Wardle has made a vital and necessary contribution to the scholarship of American art. This volume stands as a hallmark for future scholars in the field of cross-cultural studies and as a touchstone for all who would like to delve beneath the surface of mainstream art in this country.

    Brigham Young
  • This collection of essays makes a genuine contribution to the history of American art. The seven authors represent a variety of viewpoints from which to examine the art, careers, and lives of the three major artists of the Weir family. The new information they uncovered in the extensive Weir family archives and art collection at Brigham Young University enriches our knowledge of the artists and the changes in American culture over two generations.

    Susan G. Larkin
    author of The Cos Cob Art Colony: Impressionists on the Connecticut Shore

About the Author

MARIAN WARDLE is curator of American art at Brigham Young University Museum of Art and a part-time faculty member at BYU in art history.

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