Happening Now: Planning for a Photo Retreat in Ireland and Scotland

Weir Farm National Historical Park

Weir Farm National Historical Park is Connecticut’s first national park unit and the only one in the United States dedicated to American Impressionist painting.  The 60-acre park, which straddles Wilton and Ridgefield, preserves the home and grounds of Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), one of the founders of American Impressionist painting.

These photographs are a selection from several collections commissioned by the National Park Service.  They show the significant contrast between the rarely-seen vacant interiors of his home and studio – stark, rustic and ethereal – and the rooms restored and furnished to their original colorful and wildly eccentric stylings.  Close-ups of Weir’s paints, brushes and palettes focus on details that might go unnoticed in their fully furnished setting.

The images afford a closer understanding of Weir’s artistic and personal life.  Author Hildegard Cummings described the “haunting images of doors and windows in J. Alden Weir’s summer place as “openings into the soul of the painter.”  Dr. Anne E. Dawson, the Art History Chair at Eastern Connecticut State University observed that “Having read so many of Weir’s letters, the images take me even closer to understanding his artistic and personal life.  These photographs offer essential research material for anyone interested in the life and art of this preeminent American Impressionist painter.”  For Peter Trippi, the Editor of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, “the photographs of architecture and interiors are not only beautiful, but also somehow reveal something deeper and more significant about the structure’s atmosphere, sometimes even its spirit.”

The collection also shows the unrestored and restored interiors of Weir’s son-in-law, Mahonri Young, which is also on the property.  Young was a painter and sculptor of the Ashcan School.  His studio features a high ceiling for accessing his monumental sculptures.  Interesting patterns are formed by the lines of the catwalks, railings, support posts, stove pipe and paneling.  Small sculptures, cast iron stoves, paint splatters, splashes of abstract forms created by water damage and other forms punctuate the overall symmetry and brown tones.

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