Artist Max Weyl’s work features his adoptive Washington, D.C. home
By Daniel Fulco, Ph.D., Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Curator
In celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month, we hope that you enjoy this painting in our collection.
Max Weyl (American, b. Germany, 1837–1914)
The Glade, 1871
Oil on canvas
22 3/16″h x 27 1/8″w
Collection of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
Gift from the Estate of Charles C. Glover, A0466,44.0004
This lush and appealing landscape was made by Max Weyl, who settled in Washington, D.C., and created paintings imbued with the spirit of the French Barbizon school. In The Glade, Weyl depicted an enticing, expansive forest scene in which he effectively contrasted the green, yellow, black, and brown vegetation with the light blue and gray sky in the background. In the left and right foreground, the artist strikingly juxtaposed the sunlight’s fleeting reflections off the tree trunks with the shade of the foliage. Weyl’s use of loose and broad brushstrokes throughout the composition and his choice of a verdant glade as his subject betray the influence of French Barbizon landscapes by Théodore Rousseau (1812–1867), Charles François Daubigny (1817–1878), and Narcisse Virgile Díaz de la Peña (1807–1876). The Barbizon artists were part of an innovative group of plein-air (outdoor) landscape painters (primarily active between 1830 and 1880) that worked near Fontainebleau Forest, located southwest of Paris.
Over the course of his career, Weyl became best known for his scenes of Rock Creek Park and the Potomac River near Washington. The Glade was originally shown at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in an exhibition of works (1942–43) from the collection of Charles C. Glover (1846–1936), a Washington banker and philanthropist who made significant contributions to the creation of the city’s parks and monuments. After Glover’s death, several paintings from his estate were donated to the museum through the intermediation of his son, Charles Carroll Glover, Jr. (1888–1976).
Weyl was born at Mühlen-am Neckar, Germany, and emigrated with his family to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1853. In 1857, Weyl relocated to Washington, where he opened a small jewelry store in a building that still stands on 7th Street NW (across from the Capital One Arena). There, Weyl worked as a watchmaker and concurrently taught himself painting.
In addition, Weyl was active in Washington’s then-small Jewish community. To market his landscapes, he hung them in his shop window, which attracted the attention of several prominent art collectors, most notably Samuel H. Kauffmann (1829–1906), publisher of the Evening Star newspaper. Under the generous patronage of Kauffmann, Weyl traveled to Europe from 1879–80 to study art professionally in Paris, Munich, Vienna, and Venice. Upon his return to America in 1880, the painter became one of the leading members of the “Washington Landscape School,” along with artists such as William Henry Holmes (1847–1920) and Richard Norris Brooke (1847–1920). Later in his career, Weyl earned the nickname of “American Daubigny” because his landscapes shared many stylistic qualities with the works of the renowned French painter.
Frances Benjamin Johnston (American, 1864–1952)
Max Weyl with some of his paintings, ca. 1890–1910
Albumen silver print
Collection of Library of Congress
Prints & Photographs Division, Washington D.C.