The first book about Weir Farm National Historic Site, the only national park dedicated to American painting, will be authored by Xiomaro, a fine art photographer from Roslyn Heights, in a deal he signed with Arcadia Publishing. The park, located in Connecticut, was the home of J. Alden Weir (1852-1919), the father of American Impressionist painting who came to prominence during three excursions to the East End of Long Island.
“Openings into the soul of the painter,” was how Xiomaro’s images were described in 2013 by Hildegard Cummings, an art expert who authored a book about Weir. Since 2012, Xiomaro (pronounced “SEE-oh-MAH-ro”) has been creating fine art photographic collections of Weir’s house, studios, landscape and gardens under several commissions. On Long Island, he is best known for his photographs of Sagamore Hill and Fire Island National Seashore, which have been exhibited at the Long Island Museum, the Nassau County Legislature and other public spaces.
The best of his Weir Farm photographs plus vintage snapshots will be featured in the book along with approximately 11,000 words of captions. “It’s about the classic American story of transformation,” said Xiomaro, who – after overcoming cancer – also made a transition from being a music lawyer to an artist. “Weir hated Impressionism, then championed it. His property was threatened by development, then got preserved as a national park. And the dramatic before-and-after renovations of the buildings will be seen in my images.”
Weir was influenced by the traditional art theory of William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), a friend of his father, whose Cedarmere home still stands in Roslyn Harbor. Later, Weir and his artist friends adopted the radical Impressionist style, which they helped to popularize in the US through highly publicized painting excursions they took to the North and South Forks of Long Island between 1878 and 1881. Today, Weir’s iconic works are at the Met, the Brooklyn Museum and other world-class museums. The significance of these and other contributions to American art moved Congress to designate his home, studio and grounds as a national historic site.
Indeed, the US Mint will be issuing a special Weir Farm quarter in 2020 under the “America the Beautiful” program. The Mint’s website says the series “captures the breathtaking beauty of America’s natural landscapes that have inspired countless poets, adventurers, and artists. Today, these hallowed sites are… enshrined” through the quarters designed by the Mint. “The book will celebrate the park in time for the striking of this unique coin,” announced Xiomaro.
The worldwide deal with Arcadia Publishing will release the book as part of the Images of Modern America series, which the company website describes as uncovering “amazing aspects of American history that are all too often overlooked by standard texts” and “filled with expertly penned content and stunning full-color images.” Arcadia, based in Charleston, South Carolina, is the leading publisher of local and regional books in the United States with a library of more than 14,000 titles.
Xiomaro is an internationally-recognized artist, writer, speaker and curator whose photography has been covered by The New York Times, CBS Eyewitness News, Newsday and News 12. A free photo e-book about Weir Farm is available at www.xiomaro.com while supplies last. For information about visiting Weir Farm National Historic Site, go to www.nps.gov/wefa.
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