WEIR, Julian Alden
(b. 1852, West Point, d. 1919, New York)

The Red Bridge

c. 1895
Oil on canvas, 62 x 86 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The enthusiasm of Julian Alden Weir for the work of Japanese artists such as Hokusai or Hiroshige may have been prompted by the tales of friends who visited Japan and by exhibitions of Japanese print graphics in America. In the 1880s and 1890s Japanese art offered many painters a new direction to follow. One of Weir's most popular paintings, The Red Bridge, exemplifies his use of diagonal composition and zones of colour. The bridge, its colour contrasting strongly with natural setting, opens up decorative possibilities when seen together with its reflection - two diagonals running in at an angle to each other. The detailed brushwork, a product of Weir's study of Impressionism, loosens the composition without fragmenting it.