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Robert Walter Weir poems, 1848-1921

 Sub-Series
Identifier: Vault MSS 511 Series 3 Sub-Series 5

Scope and Contents note

Contains poems by Robert Walter Weir, dating from between 1848 to 1921 in New York. The poems are concerning light, religion, death of children, and nature. A few of these are unsigned so there exists the possibility that some were not authored by Weir, but rather dedicated to or written for him. There are some duplicates and almost all of the poems are handwritten.

Dates

  • 1848-1921

Conditions Governing Access

Condition restricted; permission to use original materials must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services. Patron should use microfiche copy.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Copyright resides with the Weir family.

Permission to publish material from Weir family papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical note

From the Series:

Robert Walter Weir (b. 1803) was a professor of drawing at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for forty-two years.

Robert W. Weir was born on June 18, 1803, in New York City, the son of a Scottish immigrant. He grew up working in offices and mills, but his ambition in life was to become an artist. Weir was about twenty when he had his first instruction in art from John Wesley Jarvis and from an English heraldic artist, Robert Cook. In 1824 he traveled to Italy for three years of study. In Florence he worked with Pietro Benvenuti (1769-1844), Italian portrait, decorative fresco, and religious painter, and in Rome he lived with Horatio Greenough, the American sculptor.

Back in New York City he made his debut at the National Academy of Art with his landscape entitled View at Belleville. In 1828 he was made an associate academician of that institution and in 1831 was elected a full academician.

Best known as a teacher, Weir spent forty-two years (1834-1876) as professor of drawing at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. His students there included such varied figures as generals Grant and Lee, and painter J.A.M. Whistler, in addition to his two artist sons, John Ferguson Weir and Julian Alden Weir. After his retirement from West Point in 1876, he moved back to New York City, where he continued to paint until his death in 1889.

As a romantic painter of landscapes, portraits, and literary and religious scenes, Weir's reputation grew quickly, and in the years before he went to West Point he worked in the company of leading American artists and exhibited regularly at the National Academy of Design. He was artistically among the best educated of American painters, yet he seldom achieved true success as an artist: his work is eclectic and he seems never to have settled on a style or a type of subject that he could develop fully. He saw himself primarily as a history painter in the tradition of Benjamin West, and he is best known for his Embarkation of the Pilgrims, painted for the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington, D. C. However, his craftsmanship is better seen in more modest paintings such as Microscope (1849, Yale) and View of the Hudson (1869, Fruitlands Museum, Harvard).

As a romantic painter of landscapes, portraits, and literary and religious scenes, Weir's reputation grew quickly, and in the years before he went to West Point he worked in the company of leading American artists and exhibited regularly at the National Academy of Design. He was artistically among the best educated of American painters, yet he seldom achieved true success as an artist: his work is eclectic and he seems never to have settled on a style or a type of subject that he could develop fully. He saw himself primarily as a history painter in the tradition of Benjamin West, and he is best known for his Embarkation of the Pilgrims, painted for the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington, D. C. However, his craftsmanship is better seen in more modest paintings such as Microscope (1849, Yale) and View of the Hudson (1869, Fruitlands Museum, Harvard).

In 1829 Weir married Louisa Ferguson, who bore him nine children before her death in 1845. A year later he married Susan Martha Bayard, who bore him seven more children. Susan was the daughter of Lewis Pintard Bayard (1791-1840), an Episcopal clergyman and rector of St. Clement's Church in New York City.

Of Robert Weir's sixteen children, three died in infancy, leaving eight sons: Robert F., Walter, Charles E. Henry, William Bayard, Gulian Verplanck, John Ferguson, and Julian Alden; and five daughters: Louisa (who married General Truman Seymour), Emma (who married General Thomas Lincoln Casey), Carrie, Nellie, and Anne.

Extent

1 folder

Language

English

Other Finding Aids

Folder-level inventory available online. http://files.lib.byu.edu/ead/XML/VMSS511.xml

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

Contact:
1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States