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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: 20th century: (Landscape)

after 1900
J. Alden Weir
oil on wood
23 7/8 x 15 7/8 in. (60.7 x 40.4 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mahonri Sharp Young

Julian Alden Weir was a nature lover whose Branchville, Connecticut, farm was a retreat from the pressures of New York City. His younger brother had advised him to "hang onto this place, old boy . . . keep it trim and untrammeled, and you will find a haven of refuge." Weir began painting landscapes around the property after his beloved wife, Anna, died. This spindly poplar with its elegantly bending trunk might be one of those that he and Anna had planted together and that he closely identified with her. (Cummings, "Home Is the Starting Place: J. Alden Weir and the Spirit of Place," J. Alden Weir: A Place of His Own, 1991). Perhaps the ghostly figure in the foreground is meant to suggest his wife's spirit dwelling under the trees.

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