The Building of the Dam

The Building of the Dam

1908

J. Alden Weir

(American, 1852-1919)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 93.5 x 118.5 x 7.5 cm (36 13/16 x 46 5/8 x 2 15/16 in.); Unframed: 76 x 101.6 cm (29 15/16 x 40 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1927.171

Description

This painting shows the construction of the Scotland Dam, built between 1907 and 1909 on the Shetucket River near the artist's home in Windham, Connecticut. Unlike painters from the Ash Can School, such as John Sloan and George Bellows who tended to portray more sordid views of urban life, Weir hid a potentially ugly industrial scene behind trees and foliage. He used a silver palette with pastel blues and greens to mask the construction equipment behind a veil of natural beauty. Early in his career, Weir was interested in drawing and design and used a conservatively dark palette. Under the influence of his friends Albert Pinkham Ryder, John Henry Twachtman, and Theodore Robinson, the artist's palette lightened in the late 1880s, and by the 1890s he had developed his Impressionist style.

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