William James Hubard


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Julian Alden Weir (1852—1919)

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Painter, silhouette artist, and sculptor. Chiefly a portrait painter, he also undertook historical and literary subjects. His distinctive, miniaturistic paintings portray full-length subjects within crisply detailed settings. Cabinet-size works also include a few imaginative themes, such as the haunting Dream of Columbus (Valentine Richmond [Virginia] History Center, early 1850s), which pictures the dozing explorer seated in his study, while in a visionary apparition, ships approach an alpine-flavored new world in the background. The diminutive portraits, such as Charles Carroll of Carrollton (Metropolitan Museum, c. 1830), forcefully evoke individual character despite their size. Born in Whitechurch, Shropshire, while still a child Hubard gained renown for his ability to cut portrait silhouettes. He toured Great Britain with a traveling showman, who brought him to the United States in 1824. While making silhouettes in New York and Boston, he became interested in portrait painting and in 1826 began working professionally. In changing specialties, he apparently received advice and encouragement from Robert W. Weir, Gilbert Stuart, and Thomas Sully. He worked in New York, the mid-Atlantic states, and Virginia before traveling to Italy and France for about three years. There his style became more academically polished but less individual, and afterward he less often worked in the small format he had so effectively exploited. Soon after his return in 1841 he settled in Richmond, Virginia. There in 1853, newly interested in sculpture, he opened a bronze foundry, where he most notably produced six bronze casts of Jean Antoine Houdon's standing George Washington (state capitol, Richmond, 1785–88). During the Civil War, the plant was converted to the manufacture of war munitions. Hubard died from injuries sustained in an accidental explosion there.

Subjects: Art.

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