University College at Fairfield University offers lectures about Weir Farm

Image: J. Alden WeirMixing art and history, University College at Fairfield University will offer four informative lectures about Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton, Conn., home of American Impressionist painter J. Alden Weir (1852-1919). The lectures will take place Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., beginning on April 22.

Weir Farm is the only national park in Connecticut and the only national park in the country devoted to American painting. Characteristic of 19th century New England life, it offered inspiration to Mr. Weir's creativity. He and his peers used the rolling hills, woods, fields, and human and animal life as subjects of their paintings.

The first lecture will take place on April 22. "Who is J. Alden Weir and why is there a national park named after him in Connecticut?" asks Wilton resident Joan Kaskell, historian and lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She will deliver an introduction to the life and artistic style of the man behind Weir Farm in her presentation, "American Impressionists: J. Alden Weir and His Circle."

"This first talk of the series is intended to provide audiences an artistic context for J. Alden Weir and his contemporaries," Kaskell said. "I will describe and illustrate J. Alden Weir's contribution to American Impressionism and American art as a whole."

On April 29, White Plains, N.Y. resident Constance Evans, executive director of Weir Farm Trust, will deliver "Weir Farm: The Vision and Values of Its Artists."

"Weir so loved to paint his farm, he also invited his friends to join him there, including fellow artists such as John Twachtman, Childe Hassam, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and John Singer Sargent," Evans said.

"In my talk, I will attempt to convey the atmosphere of this special place, Weir Farm, and how 122 years after Weir purchased the farm, it continues to be hallowed ground for artists today." National Park Service Ranger Christopher Gezon, native to Pittsburgh, Penn., will speak about the "Stone Walls of Weir Farm" during his presentation on May 6.

"The landscape and stone walls of Weir Farm National Historic Site have been the inspiration for artwork for over 120 years," Gezon commented. "The lecture will explore how the roles and functions of stone walls in Connecticut have evolved since their initial construction in the area."

During the last lecture, held on May 13 at Weir Farm, participants are invited to explore Mr. Weir's studio and home just as he left them when he died in 1919. Resident artist Ida Schmulowitz, from Providence, R.I., will be available to meet with participants as well. Schmulowitz is a landscape artist, art critic, and was first prize winner of the Rode Island Open Competition at Warwick Museum in 2002.

The cost of all four lectures is $199. For more information and to register, call (203) 254-4000, ext. 4307 or visit University College at Media inquiries can be made to Dana Ambrosini, assistant director of media relations at Fairfield University, at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on March 18, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 206

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