Walk This Trail to See What Inspired the American Impressionist Painters
Bought on a whim for the price of a painting, J. Alden Weir’s farm, now a National Historic Site, became a place to redefine American art
In 1882, a young portrait painter named J. Alden Weir was offered a 153-acre Connecticut farm in exchange for a still-life painting he had just bought. Weir jumped at the offer, and in the following decades the farm became a second home for him, his wife, and other American Impressionist painters. Childe Hassam, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Henry Twachtman and Weir himself painted portraits and landscapes there, often working in a small portable studio that sat on a pair of runners. Now a National Park Service Historic Site, Weir Farm is open to the public from spring through fall. Among the highlights: brochure in hand, visitors can follow a trail that stops at places where Weir and the other artists worked, comparing the scenes with how they look in paintings created a century ago.