Sketching the Hudson Highlands from Constitution Island by Robert
Sketching the Hudson Highlands from Constitution Island by Robert Sketching the Hudson Highlands from Constitution Island by Robert Sketching the Hudson Highlands from Constitution Island by Robert
Sketching the Hudson Highlands from Constitution Island by Robert

Sketching the Hudson Highlands from Constitution Island by Robert

  • This exceptional view of the Hudson Highlands was composed by the great Robert Walter Weir
  • A celebrated member of the Hudson River School, Weir's landscapes are among his finest compositions
  • The present example reveals his adeptness at imbuing his landscape scenes with a narrative element
  • A very similar scene is currently in the collection of the West Point Museum Art Collection
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Item No. 30-8879
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Robert Walter Weir
1803-1889 | American

Sketching the Hudson Highlands from Constitution Island

Oil on canvas

Hudson River School artist Robert Walter Weir captures the natural beauty of the New York landscape in this exceptional oil on canvas. From the vantage point of Constitution Island, Weir brilliantly translates onto canvas the breadth and grandeur of the Hudson Highlands, which were his home for over four decades. Renowned for his sweeping landscapes and historical scenes, Weir boasts an important legacy in the history of American art, and this work is a stunning example of his highly celebrated output.

Sketching the Hudson Highlands from Constitution Island displays Weir's unique blend of landscape painting with narrative scenes. His most significant works follow this same formula, displaying not only his exceptional skill as an artist of the Hudson River School, but also his talent for genre and history painting. In the foreground of the present work, an intimate narrative scene plays out as an artist and his companion take in the grandeur of nature before them. A very similar scene of the Hudson Highlands is currently in the collection of the West Point Museum Art Collection.

The location of Sketching the Hudson Highlands from Constitution Island itself makes it an important work in the history of American art. The area, which is part of the U.S. Military Academy Reservation, evokes a sense of history and patriotism beyond its natural grandeur. Like other Hudson River School painters of the period, particularly the great Thomas Cole, Weir celebrated themes of nationalism and nature, seeking out untainted vistas in the great American landscape. The result was works in the Arcadian spirit such as this, whose composition confirms humans ability to peacefully coexist with nature.

The Hudson Highlands were a favorite subject of Weir, if only for his proximity to them. Though he was born in New York City and studied briefly in Europe, he moved to West Point in 1834 after accepting an appointment as a teacher of drawing at the West Point Military Academy. He was the fifth artist to hold the position, and while there he instructed many future commanders of the American Civil War, including Ulysses S. Grant, as well as a number of notable artistic students such as James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Seth Eastman. He also instructed his son, Julian Alden Weir, who went on to become a great American Impressionist painter in his own right. Today, Weir's works can be found in many important American collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the United States Capitol Building, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum Washington D.C.).

Circa 1860

Canvas: 23" high x 30" wide
Frame: 31" high x 39 1/2" wide
specifications
Period: 1816-1918
Origin:America
Subject:Landscape
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