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 »
A New Home in Branchville
1882 to 1893
Their honeymoon took them to Europe for six months, during which Weir's brother, John, was in charge at the Branchville farm. He regularly wrote to Weir, saying: "I advise you to hang on to this place, old boy; a 'lonesome lodge' which a pleasant place of retreat in times of storm or drought-is no bad thing to have-for an artist-keep it trim and untrammeled and you will find it a haven of refuge." Weir, abroad in Venice, found himself yearning for his rural retreat. He wrote to John, "Anna and I have both often wished to be at old Branchville." They returned to the United States in September 1883, and Weir made Branchville his primary residence for the next thirty-six years.
During the 1880s and early 1890s, Weir matured as an artist. He experimented with etching and developed a new approach to landscape painting influenced in part by Japanese art and from French Impressionism. He moved away from his traditional background and focused on his personal response to nature. He wrote: "I feel that I can enjoy studying any phase of nature, which before I had restricted to preconceived notions of what it ought to be." Weir exhibited his new style of painting with Society of Painters in Pastels, the New York Etching Club, and the Universal Exposition in Paris, where he won a silver medal. Weir also built a studio on the grounds of his Branchville farm, and became a father to three daughters-Caroline, Dorothy and Cora.
Tragedy struck in the middle of all this success. Anna's sudden death in 1892 due to complications from childbirth was a shattering blow. She died one week after giving birth to their youngest daughter, Cora. Weir handled the tragedy by leaving Branchville and spending several months in Chicago where he immersed himself in painting one of the murals for the Manufacturing and Liberal Arts Building at the World's Columbian Exposition. Anna's sister, Ella, was available to take charge of the baby and her two older sisters while Julian was away. Letters between Julian and his sister-in-law show his gradual realization that Ella could fill the void in his life. They were married in Boston in October 1893.
Did You Know?
Weir Farm National Historic Site is the only National Park Service Site dedicated to American Painting.