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 »
Return to New York
1877 to 1882
When Weir left Paris in 1877, he pondered a comment from a Frenchmen he had met: "He thought America was going to be a great country for art. I hope certainly this is true." With this in mind, he returned to New York City and established himself as a portrait and still life painter, as well an art teacher at the Art Students League. He helped to found the Society of American Artists, a group formed to exhibit their own works separate from the rigid standards and exclusive environment of the Academy. Weir also banded with his aspiring peers through The Tile Club. Formed in 1877, this group of up and coming artists included William Merritt Chase and Winslow Homer, The Tile Club met weekly -- supposedly to paint tiles. The group really functioned as social club, with several outings that were "in search of the Picturesque," and the opportunity for "good talk and the companionship of men who spoke the same artistic language."
While in New York, Weir also took on the role of art buyer and collector. He made additional trips to Europe in 1878 and again in 1880- 1881. These trips were made both to study and also to buy art for himself and New York art collectors such as Erwin Davis.
In January of 1882, one of Weir's drawing students brought her friend to a lesson. The new student was Anna Dwight Baker from Windham, Connecticut. Within three weeks, Julian and Anna fell in love and became engaged. Shortly after their engagement, another major event took place.
Erwin Davis wanted a still-life painting Julian acquired in Europe so much that he offered Weir a deal. Davis would trade a 153-acre farm in Branchville, Connecticut for the painting -- plus $10.00. Weir wrote to Anna on June 17, 1882 commenting that, "If I go up to Ridgefield tomorrow, I will look at the 155-acres and see it they are habitable, if so we might have that as a sort of hunting lodge for part of the season."
Weir agreed to the deal with Davis and on July 19, 1882, for a painting and ten dollars, he received the 153-acre Branchville farm.
Weir and Anna were married the next year on April 24, 1883. They would visit the Branchville property before and after their honeymoon in Europe.
Did You Know?
Painter Julian Alden Weir wanted to build a rural retreat in the Keene Valley area of the Adirondacks, but decided instead that his farm in Branchville, Connecticut, now preserved as Weir Farm National Historic Site, would make a more suitable home for his family.