Artwork of the Week: October 4, 2020
Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), An Autumn Stroll, 1894, oil on canvas, 70 x 40 1/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of the Mahonri M. Young Estate, 1959.
In this piece by American artist Julian Alden Weir, a woman and child, bathed in rose-gold light, contemplate the beauty of an autumn day. They pause under the temporary shelter of a tree, its fading yellow leaves reminding the viewer of Autumn’s transitory wonder. Fall is a time of change, marked by the falling of leaves and temperatures, and change means uncertainty. These two, however, seem prepared for what may come as the mother holds her cloak close against her shoulder. The child in her gray coat is also ready for the change in weather, but she’s seems equally outfitted for a journey, an adventure, as she holds a walking stick in her determined fist. They both look beyond the viewer into a future unseen. Perhaps there is some trepidation in their gaze, as they wonder what will come. But the viewer sees only this frozen moment, and the past behind. We are satisfied by the beauty of where they have been.
This painting depicts Weir’s daughter Dorothy standing half hidden behind Ella, her aunt and stepmother. Weir blends academic rendering of the human form with Impressionist colors and brushwork, flattened space, muted colors, and decorative patterning from Japanese prints.