Julian Alden Weir was a painter and etcher of landscape subjects and teacher. The son of the painter and teacher Robert W. Weir (who had trained Whistler at USMA, West Point), he trained initially in his father's studio.
In 1873 he moved to Paris where he studied under Jean-Léon Gérôme and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He also met Bastien-Lepage and Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret, and through them was influenced by naturalist painting.
Weir returned to New York in 1877 to establish himself as an artist and teacher (at the Cooper Union and the Art Students League). He was elected to the National Academy in 1886.
He continued to be influenced by French art, particularly Impressionism (seen in works such as the Red Bridge (ca 1895; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and he became noted for his experimental technique in pastel and watercolour during the 1880s and 1890s. This centred on highly textured surfaces and broad strokes of colour suggestive of the different qualities of light. During the final years of his career he became more preoccupied with portraits of women although he continued to paint landscape.
Whistler probably knew Weir through his father who had taught art at West Point. They were in contact during the 1890s.
Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, 1956-1961; Bolger, D., 'Julian Alden Weir,' Grove Dictionary of Art Online, http://www.groveart.com (accessed 7 July 2004).