This post comes to us from Sara Cotter, Curatorial Intern.
All three of the Weirs represented in the exhibition, The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding Traditions in American Art (on view in the McKernan Gallery from June 30th until September 30th) had a profound impact on the development of American art education in the 19th century. Robert Walter Weir, John Ferguson Weir and Julian Alden Weir all served as art instructors to the generation of young artists who defined American art in the 19th century and into the 20th, and who established this country’s reputation internationally. Robert, the patriarch of the family, was the head Drawing Instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for forty-two years, John became the first Director of the School of Fine Arts at Yale University, and Julian, armed with his formal training from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, served as an art instructor at several institutions after returning to America. The Weirs were undoubtedly influenced in their teaching by the unique position between America and Europe that they held in their own painting careers, and by the curious mix of old and new sources they were exposed to during their travels abroad.