Marian Wardle, curator of American art at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and part-time faculty member at BYU in art history, has assembled a remarkable group of writers from across the country for an anthology that focuses on the lives and artistic production of three of America's most notable artists: Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889) and his sons John Ferguson Weir (1841-1926) and Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919). The BYU Museum of Art became the beneficiary of a collection of the Weirs' artworks when one of Julian Weir's daughters, Dorothy, passed away in 1947, leaving much of her family's extensive collection to her husband, Mahonri Young, who was a grandson of Brigham Young and a respected New York artist and sculptor. The descendants of Mahonri Young were able to pass this vast collection of over eight thousand artworks to Brigham Young University in 1959, providing the impetus for the establishment of the BYU Museum of Art.
By tackling the subject of the Weir art dynasty and analyzing the complex matrix of events and circumstances surrounding their uniquely American posture during a critical period in the formation of American art, Wardle has made a vital and necessary contribution to the scholarship of American art. This volume stands as a hallmark for future scholars in the field of cross-cultural studies and as a touchstone for all who would like to delve beneath the surface of mainstream art in this country.