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ROBERT WALTER WEIR

ROBERT WALTER WEIR

Robert Walter Weir was born in New York City, and possessed of natural talent, he taught himself to paint by copying pictures of Rembrandt paintings. When only a teenager, his considerable skill led to his paintings as being attributed to the European “Old Masters”. As a young man Painter Robert Walter Weir left his position as a mercantile clerk to paint and study art in 1821, essentially teaching himself. Weir was mentored by New York portraitist, John Jarvis and took study with Robert Cooke, an English heraldic artist. In 1824 he traveled to Florence, Italy where he studied the Renaissance Masters and took study with Italian neoclassical painter, Pietro Benvenuti, then onto Rome where he resided with the American neoclassical artist, Horatio Greenough. 1827 saw his return New York City where he opened his artist’s studio and was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1829. In 1834, he became the Professor of Drawing at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, on the recommendation of poet and editor of the New York Evening Post, William Cullen Bryant; a position he held for 42 years. His pupils included Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E Lee, George Derby, and James Whistler as well as his own sons, John Ferguson and Julian Alden Weir, themselves artists. His 1836 mural, Peace and War, was installed in the West Point chapel, and in 1843, his Peace and War, and his Embarkation of the Pilgrims from Delft Haven, in Holland was installed in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building. Although not generally associated with the Hudson River School of artists, Weir painted scenes of the Hudson River valley and his handling of light is reminiscent of the style of the Hudson River School. In addition to being an elected member of the National Academy of Design, he was a member of the Brooklyn Art Association, where he also exhibited. He also exhibited at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

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