Purchased by Thomas Dunbar, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1917
Purchased by Edwin C. Shaw, Akron, Ohio, 1917
Bequest to Akron Art Institute (Museum), 1955
2012 - : McDowell Galleries, 8/29/12 - , Akron Art Museum
2011 - 2012: "Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism" 10/9/11 - 2/5/12, Akron Art Museum
2007 - 2011: "Opening exhibition, McDowell galleries" 7/7/07 - 10/2/11, Akron Art Museum
2004 - 2006: "American Impressions: An Arcadian Vision: Paintings from the Akron Art Museum" Organized by the Trust for Museum Exhibitions and Akron Art Museum: Tour
4/8/04 - 6/6/04, The Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Florida
9/17/04 - 11/28/04, University Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana
12/18/04 - 2/27/05, Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida
3/12/05 - 5/22/05, Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Fresno, California
6/4/05 - 9/5/05, The Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York
10/8/05 - 12/4/05, Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee
12/16/05 - 3/12/06, Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio
2003: "In a Romantic Mood: American Impressionists and Their Era" 6/14/03 - 8/24/03, Akron Art Museum.
2000: "A Connecticut Place: Weir Farm, An American Painter's Rural Retreat" tour, Organized by the Gallery Association of New York State and the National Park Service, Weir Farm National Historic Site, Wilton, Connecticut
4/15/00 - 6/4/00, The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York
6/17/00 - 9/17/00, The Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut
1997 - 1998: "A 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Collection" 11/15/97 - 1/11/98, Akron Art Museum
1995: "A Legacy of Beauty: Paintings and Prints from the Edwin C. Shaw Bequest" 6/17/95 - 8/27/95, Akron Art Museum
1992: "Impressionism and Tonalism from the Akron Art Museum Collection" 9/12/92 - 11/8/92, Akron Art Museum
1988 - 1989: "American Paintings 1880 - 1917" 2/24/88 - 2/12/89, Akron Art Museum
1986: "The Edwin C. Shaw Collection of American Impressionist and Tonalist Painting" 4/19/86 - 6/29/86, Akron Art Museum
1984 - 1985: "The Seasons: American Impressionist Painting" 12/8/84-2/3/85, Madison Art Center, Madison, Wisconsin (No. 58)
1976: "Edwin Coupland Shaw Collection of American Paintings: Romanticism and Impressionism" 3/8/76 - 5/5/76, Federal Reserve Board, Washington, DC
1955: "The Edwin C. Shaw Collection of Paintings" 10/11/55 - 11/23/55, Akron Art Institute (Museum) (No. 32)
1924: "Julian Alden Weir Memorial Exhibition" 3/17/24 - 4/20/24, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York (No. 75)
1926: "The Second Loan Exhibition of Paintings" 2/8/26 - 3/1/26, Akron Art Institute, Public Library Building
1917: "Ten American Painters" 3/6/17 - 3/24/17, Montross Gallery, New York, New York (No. 51)
1916: 2/16 - 3/16, Whitney-Richards Galleries, New York, New York
1915: "Panama-Pacific Exhibition" 2/20/15 - 12/4/15, San Francisco, California (No. 2411)
1914: Carnegie Institute (now known as the Carnegie Museum of Art), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1914: "Seventeenth Annual Exhibition" 3/18/14 - 4/7/14, Montross Gallery, New York, New York
1914: 1/6/14 - 1/19/14, Macbeth Gallery, New York, New York
Signed in green paint LL: "J. Alden Weir"
On verso of painting:
On the frame: "1923/ Carrion Rohane Shop Inc./ R.C. & N.M. Vose, Boston?#3607"
Painted in black on stretcher: "AA55-44"
On red tag: "59/82"
Center: Advertizement for W.H. Powell, N.Y.: "W.H.P. ? Ave. N.Y./ French and American canvas/ colors, brushes, etc."
Tag from exhibiton: "'The Seasons' at the Madison Art Center, Dec. 1984 - Feb. 1985"
Julian Alden Weir
White Oaks, 1913
Collection of the Akron Art Museum
Julian Alden Weir’s poetic rendering of a woodland scene exemplifies the artist’s nearly forty-year interest in the Connecticut landscape. After his 1883 marriage Weir purchased a farm near Branchville, Connecticut, which would be his summer home until his death in 1919. New York artists such as Albert Pinkham Ryder, John Twachtman, and others were also attracted to the area, and the countryside around Weir’s farm inspired some of the most memorable images in turn-of-the-twentieth-century American painting.
White Oaks portrays the Connecticut landscape on a late autumn day.1 A dirt path in the foreground quickly disappears from view in the dense woods. Tall slender trees, absent of leaves, create a pattern of vertical forms against a blue sky speckled with small round clouds. A giant oak tree, which retains some of its leaves, occupies a dominant spot in the right foreground of the composition. Weir chose not to present the traditional view of autumn—a forest rendered in bright golds, oranges, and reds—but rather to portray a clear day in late autumn when the leaves have fallen from the trees and the blue sky can be seen through what is usually dense with foliage. His unconventional approach focuses upon the intimate qualities of the rural landscape rather than the drama of bold color changes associated with the season.
Painted during the last decade of his life, White Oaks conveys Weir’s fascination with the American landscape and with creating his own Impressionist style in order to capture the transient beauties of the countryside and the passing seasons. He applied paint directly onto the canvas with a rapid wet-in-wet technique so that the creamy whites of the clouds behind the central oak tree mix with the delicate pink and rust colors of the leaves. Using varied brushstrokes, Weir produced thick creamy areas of impasto (thickly layered paint). Contrasting with these heavily painted areas are places such as the foreground, where the light gray ground (the first layer of paint covering the canvas) shows through. Although Weir adopted the Impressionist practice of creating shadows with blues and light gray-violets rather than blacks or browns, he emphasized the contours of individual forms and did not entirely dissolve objects in an Impressionist manner. The year that White Oaks was painted Weir suffered a heart attack. Perhaps as a consequence, in his later works, including White Oaks, he shunned the pure hues and brighter colors of his earlier paintings, preferring a delicate pastel palette.2
Descended from a family of distinguished artists, Weir mastered figure drawing and traditional methods through study at the National Academy of Design in New York and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Friendships with French realist painter Jules Bastien-Lepage and American expatriate James McNeill Whistler influenced the direction Weir would take as a painter. Although he embraced French Impressionism later than many of his colleagues, he made a significant contribution to the style's acceptance by American audiences. White Oaks reveals how Weir merged a subdued Impressionistic palette and technique with his interest in the rural countryside to create a unique and vital American landscape art.
- Jack Becker, 2001
1. Letter from Dorothy Weir Young to Edwin C. Shaw, 1922, Edwin C. Shaw Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
2. After his heart attack Weir’s brushwork also became less controlled; see Exhibition of Paintings by Julian Alden Weir (New York: Montross Gallery, 1914), not paginated.
Bolger Burke, Doreen. J. Alden Weir: An American Impressionist. Newark: University of Delaware Press, An American Art Journal Book, 1983.
Gerdts, William H. American Impressionism. New York: Abbeville, 1984.