25.2cm x 20.2cm (9 15/16" x 7 15/16"), Image/paper
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Julian Alden Weir's portrait of John Twachtman, made at the height of their careers, documents the professionally nurturing friendship between these two American impressionists. Weir's drawing-with its dynamic, asymmetrical placement of the figure-demonstrates his admiration for Japanese prints. The spontaneous look of the rapidly sketched lines reflects both impressionist practice and Weir's bond with Twachtman. The two artists lived near one another, taught at the same institutions, and socialized frequently. In 1889 they showed their impressionist-inspired work in a two-person exhibition. Two years later, in a letter to Weir, Twachtman bubbled: "That was a splendid talk we had this evening. . . . I want to tell you how confident I feel. Tomorrow will be a fine day and I wish for lots of canvas and paint to go to work with."