Weir House, Weir Studio, and Young Studio Under Restoration
The historic Weir House, Weir Studio, and Young Studio are currently undergoing restoration and are closed to the public. The Burlingham House Visitor Center and park grounds remain open and available during regular hours. More »
Art and Life
1947 to 1957
National Park Service, Weir Farm National Historic Site
What was the greatest day of Young's life was missing a very important person-his wife, Dorothy Weir, who had died two months previous to the monuments dedication. Young continued to live alone at the Branchville farm after her death, completing one last major commission. He was asked by the State of Utah to create a monument to Brigham Young, the state's choice for representation in Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol Building. The six-foot sculpture of a seated Brigham Young was unveiled in Washington, D.C. in 1950.
Besides the large monuments that Young created during his lifetime, many of his sculptures were smaller figures. Young was considered a Social Realist; he enjoyed sculpting the working class and their labors. Farmers, stone masons, construction workers were all popular sculpting and sketching topics. Boxers, too, fascinated Young. His sculptures of legendary boxers made his a well-known figure in the boxing sport, being "one of the few artists of the day whose work was discussed on both the arts and sports pages." Additionally, Young created many animal sculptures, featuring the goats and horses he encountered during his travels in the Southwest.
While many of Young's many projects kept him in his studio, he, like Weir before him, was too taken with the beauty of the Branchville farm landscape to remain indoors. Young had always been a prolific sketcher, even having his suit pockets specially-made to fit a sketchbook and pens. At the farm, his sketching flourished, with Young himself commenting that he "saw pictures everywhere." As a result, he always carried a sketchbook around with him to capture any particular inspirational scene. These pen and ink drawings are a valuable source of information about the landscape and life at the farm. Often, these sketches became watercolor and oil paintings as well, adding to the tradition of creating artwork on en plein air at Weir Farm.
Throughout his life, Young's work ranged from large monuments; to smaller sculptures of laborers and boxers in the Social Realist style; to intimate sketches of daily life at Weir Farm. This work came to an end when Young died on November 2, 1957, a few months after his eightieth birthday. As his son commented afterward, he "was a man who lived with no disconnection between life and art. His life and his art were a seamless web. One just flowed right into the other. He talked about art, he thought about art, and made art. Art in a very sense was his life."
Did You Know?
Weir Farm National Historic Site is the only National Park Service Site dedicated to American Painting.