The first artistic collection of photographs documenting the interiors of the major historic buildings at Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton, Connecticut, will be exhibited at the park January 1 to May 31. These interiors are empty for the first time in at least 140 years and have never been seen by the general public. The photographs were created by Xiomáro, a life-long New Yorker and Weir Farm Visiting Artist. Free souvenir prints and the dates for free monthly Gallery Talks are available at www.xiomaro.com.
“Weir Was Here” is the first artistic collection of photographs documenting the beauty and textures of the interiors of the Julian Alden Weir House and Studio and the Mahonri Young Studio. This unique photographic record was commissioned by the National Park Service as part of a major rehabilitation and restoration of these key buildings – the first such project in the history of the park. By 2013, the interiors will be fully furnished and significantly changed from how they appear now. So the photographs offer a rare peek of what lies within.
The exhibit presents 17 photographs from close to 150 in the collection featuring the rooms, doors, windows and other distinguishing characteristics of the interiors – unadorned but, at once, stark, rustic and ethereal. “For us, the photographs reinforce the personal connection of Weir to the spaces and focuses on the artistic elegance of color and light,” explains Linda Cook, Superintendent at Weir Farm. “We worked with Xiomáro, who had been an Artist-in-Residence here at the park. His work is so compelling to us that we hired him to create a more in-depth body of work to share with the public. He continues his relationship with the park as a Visiting Artist.”
Xiomáro added that “[o]ver time, these photos will have an even greater impact than they do now. As we start growing accustomed to seeing the interiors restored and furnished, our memory of what they were like before will start becoming dim. When we return to the “before” photos, we may just find it hard to believe the interiors ever looked that way.”
Julian Alden Weir, a leading figure in American art and the development of American Impressionism, acquired the farm in 1882. Weir’s daughter, painter Dorothy Weir Young, and her husband, sculptor Mahonri Young, lived on the homestead after Weir’s death. Young was associated with the Ashcan School, an art movement that, ironically, rebelled against American Impressionism. Today, the 60-acre farm is the only National Park Service site in the country dedicated to an American painter.
“Weir Was Here – Secret Rooms, Doors and Windows” can be viewed in the Burlingham House Visitor Center located at 735 Nod Hill Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897, January through March on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and April through May, Thursday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Xiomáro will present gallery talks about his photographs, “In The Footsteps of Weir,” on Saturday, January 7, and on the following Sundays: February 5, March 4, April 1 and May 6. All talks are from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Burlingham House Visitor Center. There is no fee to participate in the gallery talks, but registration is required. For more information on the exhibit, or to register for one of the gallery talks, please call Weir Farm National Historic Site at (203) 834-1896 x12.