Bruce Museum

Greenwich, CT



A Connecticut Place: Weir Farm, An American Painter's Rural Retreat


The Bruce Museum of Arts and Science will present "A Connecticut Place: Weir Farm, An American Painter's Rural Retreat" from June 17 through September 17, 2000. The exhibition features over 70 paintings from public and private collections, as well as historic photographs and artifacts from the National Park Service collection, many on view for the first time. The exhibition features works by distinguished American Impressionist J. Alden Weir (1852-1919), done at or near the Branchville, Connecticut, retreat that was his home and workplace. Also on display are several works by prominent turn-of the-century artists who visited the farm including Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman, John Singer Sargent, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Emil Carlsen and John Ferguson Weir, the brother of J. Alden Weir. Designated a National Historic Site in 1990, Weir Farm is the only national park in Connecticut and only national park in the country devoted to American painting. (left: J. Alden Weir, The Fishing Party, c. 1915, oil on canvas, 28 x 23 1/8 inches, The Phillips Collection, Washington DC)

The exhibition is curated by two leading experts on J. Alden Weir, Hildegard Cummings, Curator of Education (retired), the William Benton Museum of Art, and Harold Spencer, Professor Emeritus, the University of Connecticut.

A companion exhibition, "J. Alden Weir: An American Painter at His Home," will be on view at Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton, Connecticut, from April 15 through September 17, 2000. Exhibition-goers who take in both the Bruce Museum and Weir Farm exhibits will have an unprecedented opportunity to experience both the art and the place that inspired it, as well as the public and private sides of an important nineteenth-century cultural leader.

Julian Alden Weir was one of the founders of the Ten American Painters, along with his friends Childe Hassam and John Twachtman. Weir's Branchville, Connecticut, home was a creative focus for his art and a gathering place for many of his friends. Weir produced over 250 paintings of the Branchville farm. Nearly 60 of those works are on exhibit in "A Connecticut Place: Weir Farm, An American Painter's Rural Retreat." Pieces in the show are arranged in thematic sections titled "A Connecticut Place," "A Rural Retreat," "Farming at Nod Hill," "The Landscape Vision," and "A Gathering of Artists." (left: J. Alden Weir, The Laundry, Branchville, c. 1894, oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 25 1/4 inches, Weir Farm Trust, Through Gift of Anna Weir Ely Smith and Gregory Smith)

Weir Farm today exists as a remarkable survival of America's artistic heritage. it is the only place where the domestic and creative milieu of a prominent 19th-century American artist remains intact, including the home, studios, and a significant portion of the landscape that was integral to the artist's vision. Today, hundreds of artists, young and old, professional and novice, seek out the farm either on their own or as participants in formal programs.

"A Connecticut Place: Weir Farm, An American Painter's Rural Retreat" was organized jointly by the Weir Farm Trust and the National Park Service. The Connecticut Humanities Council provided major support for the exhibition. Additional funding was provided by the State of Connecticut Special Project Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Unilever Home & Personal Care - USA, U.S. Trust Company, and the Wilton Bank. Additional funding for the exhibition at the Bruce Museum comes from the U.S. Trust Company of Connecticut and Sotheby's.

The companion exhibition at Weir Farm National Historic Site, "J. Alden Weir: An American Painter at His Home" features an intimate look of Weir Farm through approximately 20 prints, drawings, watercolors, and archival items. A 110-page, lavishly illustrated catalogue accompanies both exhibitions. The catalogue is an in-depth record of the exhibition and contains essays by the co-curators Cummings and Spencer as well as art historians Nicolai Cikovsky, Curator, American and British Paintings, National Gallery of Art, and Elizabeth Milroy, Wesleyan University.

Weir Farm National Historic Site is open Wednesday through Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information on Weir Farm and to view 10 paintings by J. Alden Weir, visit the web site or call (203) 834-1896. Also see Resource Library Magazine.'s articles on the Weir Farm National Historic Site.

Read more about the Bruce Museum in Resource Library Magazine.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/28/11

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