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John Twachtman 18531902
A personally and professionally nurturing friendship united the two artists John Henry Twachtman, pictured here, and Julian Alden Weir, who created this portrait. It was made about 1895, when both artists were at the height of their careers as leaders of the American impressionist movement. The style of Weir's drawing demonstrates his admiration for Japanese prints, which were popular with many impressionist painters. Twachtman's body is brought close to the picture plane, creating a dynamic form that stretches the length of the paper. Weir emphasized the casual pose by using a low viewpoint that emphasizes untidily splayed toes, knees, and elbows. Interspersed with the arms and legs of his chair, those projections make a striking angular pattern against the almost blank background.

The portrait's spontaneous appearance reflects both impressionist practice and Weir's bond with Twachtman. The two artists lived near one another, taught together and socialized frequently. In 1897, their circle of artist friends professionalized their personal ties to form the Ten American Painters.

Julian Alden Weir (18521919)
Charcoal on paper, circa 1895
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
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