Talk:Hudson River School
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- 1 The case for Robert Weir as a Hudson River School artist
- 2 List of artists (yet again)
- 3 Haseltine
- 4 Recommended listing policy
- 5 Guidelines aren't policy
- 6 Getting listless
- 7 Definition
- 8 Something arbitrary
- 9 Archived discussions
- 10 List of Selected Artists
- 11 Arbitrary Rules
- 12 Robert Weir (again)
- 13 Thanks
- 14 Overview
- 15 Alfred Thompson Bricher
The case for Robert Weir as a Hudson River School artist
- Actually I think a strong case can be made for Robert Weir's inclusion in the Hudson River School. He lived in upstate New York, taught art at West Point for forty-two years including to James McNeill Whistler and two of his sons who became notable painters. There is this interesting NY Times article: as well as images of landscape paintings - that look like Hudson River School painting on Artnet:, and here too: Bio information here:, suggest Weir's paintings had relgious and biblical themes which sound like Hudson River School painting. Clearly an accomplished teacher, portrait artist and historical painter I think his landscape paintings at least one of which (The Entrance to a Wood, 1836) is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, qualify him as a Hudson River School painter, although clearly not a major figure or an important innovator. Modernist (talk) 14:24, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
List of artists (yet again)
Once again, it appears necessary to try setting down what standards ought to be applied to justify adding an artist to Wikipedia’s roster of “Selected artists working in the Hudson River School style.” The key word in that heading, we might all agree, is selected. From several earlier discussions on this topic, a consensus seemed to emerge that included the following requirements: (1) The artist left a substantial body of work in the HRS style, not just an occasional example, (2) the artist had a history of association with other HRS artists, such as membership in the National Academy of Design, (3) the artist had a record of activity and residence in New York State, and -- most important – (4) the artist and his works are included in a definitive reference on HRS art, which by common agreement begins with but is not limited to American Paradise. Using such minimal standards as a screening device, Wikipedia’s list should result in only the most recognized and accepted artists of the HRS. If only it were that simple. Now comes an effort to add Robert Weir to WP’s “Selected artists working the Hudson River School style,” and the question arises, “How well does this artist meet the WP standards previously discussed and presumably agreed to?” In his favor, we can say that Weir certainly meets (2) and (3), which deal with the less-important issues of association with other HRS artists and NY residence. On the other hand, against him are his serious shortcomings on (1) and (4), which reflect his failure to leave behind a substantial body of HRS work, a legacy that undoubtedly resulted in his omission from apparently every definitive published reference currently covering the HRS. Weir was unquestionably talented, socially well connected, and certainly a notable contemporary of the HRS and its artists, but much of Weir’s output appears to have been portraiture, historical genre, and sketches. To his credit, however, among his landscapes are a few superb examples done in the HRS style, but it would be impossible to rightfully claim that it was his signature style. On balance, then, the unavoidable question about Weir remains this one: “Does an artist whose marginal involvement and meager output in the HRS style, who consequently has been excluded from Howat and, more tellingly, who lacks a footnote or even index entry in ‘’American Paradise,” belong on the same WP list of selected HRS artists as Bierstadt, Church, Cropsey, and Kensett?” In view of the desirability of some minimal but consistent eligibility requirements for adding names to WP’s list of HRS artists, the reasonable answer in Weir’s case appears to be no. Before further efforts are made to remove his name, comments from other WP contributors would be welcome. Jack Bethune (talk) 11:06, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
- Well, you both make valid, if not yet conclusive points. I don't intend to offer a 'tipping point' to this discussion, but a google search of Weir's name and Hudson River School together turned up this description from the Smithsonian Archives (click on the 'show bio' link) , this biography  and this brochure , all of which claim him as a member of the HRS. Finally, I think that the determining factor will be the assessments of previous scholarship--does the established literature on 19th century American art place him in this group? It appears that some seminal publications do not, yet a number of institutions and articles do. JNW (talk) 13:55, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
- While I have indicated by my previous comment that I believe that Weir does belong on a list of Hudson River School artists, I also indicated that I think he was a minor figure in that movement. Weir's reputation seems to have dimmed and he clearly never was a key figure in the movement anyway. However I have included him on the list for a few reasons. As stated above by Jack Bethune's criteria of four - #'s 2 and 3 are covered. The issue of his paintings (criteria #1) however I have already stated that while he wasn't a prolific producer of masterpieces, he certainly made his contribution to the movement with high quality paintings, and he contributed a legacy of serious import by virtue of his important students - his two son's and James McNeil Whistler. Admittedly he is weak in criteria #4, however, although being overlooked, left out, omitted from certain exhibitions and texts is an occupational hazard that many important artists endure. He was a minor figure in the movement, and there are many such figures in art history, and there are many reasons why certain artists are included and certain artists are excluded from texts and exhibitions and sometimes those reasons are petty and superficial. As an underscore to that JNW has indicated with his links above that there are several references to Weir's perception of being a Hudson River School artist besides the ones that I provided. Here is another link,  there are several more if you do a search for Robert Weir Hudson River School as JNW suggested... I think he should stay on the list. Modernist (talk) 21:51, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
- I would like to make two points. The first is the list is of "selected artists." The controversy alone should disqualify Weir from the list. There is no such discussion about any of the other artists. It is imperative that the list be "selective." Second, to be included in a selected list, the painter should qualify as a landscape painter. Weir was primarily a portrait and historical painter. To Jack's criteria I would add the fifth item - the painter was primarily a painter of landscapes. In my opinion, Robert Weir does not belong on a "selected list of Hudson River School painters." JJ (talk) 14:51, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
- Firstly because there is controversy certainly doesn't disqualify anybody from anything; secondly - selected is an empirically imposed term placed on the list, and essentially it is an arbitrary term. Thirdly - there was quite a discussion - controversy if you will concerning William Stanley Haseltine's inclusion. Robert Walter Weir belongs on the list and to the article, his inclusion as a Hudson River School Artist by the Archives of American Art is enough of a reference, his landscapes are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. James McNeil Whistler, John Ferguson Weir and J. Alden Weir are a testament to his importance as a teacher. His removal resembles WP:IDON'TLIKEIT which speaks more of WP:OWN than art historical scholarship. Finally this is Wikipedia, an encyclopedia, a project accumulating information from a variety of sources and editors it isn't about Jack's criteria or yours or mine. As editors we add referenced information, and I have added several references for Robert Walter Weir. Modernist (talk) 01:15, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Okay, here's another one submitted for approval, sometime after the fact: A while back I included William Stanley Haseltine, who John Wilmerding associated stylistically with the HRS, though most of his work does not literally depict the region. Keep or delete? JNW (talk) 04:40, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
- In my opinion - this Selected artists working in the Hudson River School style should be changed to Hudson River School artists. The selected seems arbitrary and exclusive, and Hudson River School style seems too open ended, and once again arbitrary.
The feeling there is we will include an artist - only if we feel like it and we say so. Frankly, George Inness should probably be included also. His early paintings are clearly connected intimately with the Hudson River School.
That said, Hazeltine spent nearly the last thirty-five years of his life living and painting the European countryside. The paintings look like his friends and peers from the Hudson River School and 10th Street (where he worked as well). I'd positively include him. Modernist (talk) 12:03, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Recommended listing policy
The current debate about who does or doesn’t belong on WP’s “Selected list of artists working in the HRS style” encourages reflection on the nature and purpose of that list. By its placement within an article, it becomes what WP terms an “embedded list.” According to the WP style guide, WP:EMBED Embedded lists within articles, embedded lists must not become a “list of links.” In order to avoid a lengthy list of mere links, WP editors have proposed guidelines for limiting the list, by establishing criteria that allow only “selected” artists whose signature style, significant body of work, and acknowledgement by definitive published sources confirm them not only as important HRS artists but also as noteworthy enough for highlighting and listing in the HRS article. The purpose of the embedded list, therefore, is to enable WP readers to readily sample the major, recognized artists working in the HRS style, and ideally to provide information (or at minimum a link) on each artist.
The criteria used thus far by WP editors to evaluate an artist’s eligibility for the embedded list have been discussed previously and presumably accepted, at least until now. If we assume that WP editors agree on the nature and purpose of the article’s embedded list, then the process of selection and listing can be a logical approach. For example, it can be assumed that WP editors will want to avoid the creation of a “list of links” by limiting the number of artists in the HRS article’s embedded list, by ensuring that every artist on the embedded list meets the minimal WP criteria established by editors and discussed previously.
What about all those lesser HRS artists who don’t qualify for the article’s short, embedded list? Where do we gather all the marginal, part-time, occasional, or even debatable candidates who sometimes are questionably associated with the HRS? Those artists can be collected and highlighted in the time-honored WP way, in a separate List article that WP describes as a “list of links,” or stand-alone list. List articles are capable of being all-inclusive and expanded without limit, so that it would be easy to list every purported HRS artist under a working title such as “List of artists who through intensive Googling can be linked or ascribed to the Hudson River School style,” or something similar. The main article, of course, would carry a link to this larger, stand-alone list.
A stand-alone list would appropriately include not only the best-known HRS artists, about which there is no debate, but also the relatively obscure, inactive, marginal, and otherwise currently debatable HRS candidates. In earlier discussions on this page, names such as Gilbert Munger, George Inness, Martin Johnson Heade, Winslow Homer, and Samuel F.B. Morse were found not to meet WP’s minimal criteria and were therefore deemed ineligible for the article’s “selected” list of notable HRS artists. These same standards, of course, would logically apply to currently debatable names such as Robert Weir, William Stanley Haseltine, and perhaps others who fail to meet the WP’s minimal criteria. WP editors in each case should strive to use only honest evaluations in maintaining any artist’s presence on the embedded list. Otherwise, the artist would belong on the stand-alone list. It is hoped that this proposal will be of help in guiding the progress of the HRS article and the highlighting of noteworthy HRS artists in its embedded list.
To sum up what is recommended:
1.Let’s maintain WP guidelines for this article’s embedded list of selected artists, keeping it short and focused on only key members of the HRS who fully meet the basic WP criteria.
2.Furthermore, let’s encourage expansion of each HRS artist on the embedded list by adding prose to the presently bare name links, an addition that WP guidelines prefer, and add examples or illustrations where possible of each artist’s HRS work. WP’s treatment of White Mountain art is one example of this expanded approach.
3.And let’s consider the need for creating a new and all-inclusive List article, one that can stand alone and legitimately accommodate the potentially numerous links to every major, minor, and even marginal artist that has been or in the future will be reasonably associated with the HRS.
By appropriately employing both lists, embedded and stand-alone, WP can offer readers the best possible coverage of all artists involved with this important American art movement. Further thoughts and comments are welcome. Jack Bethune (talk) 13:20, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
- List of Hudson River School artists has been created with a stub of a list, please start filling it out. dm (talk) 16:28, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Guidelines aren't policy
- The list accompanying the article is fine as is. Wikipedia:Embedded list and WP:EMBED Embedded lists within articles is a guideline it is not a POLICY, nothing set in stone, we use WP:UCS to realize the article is fine as is. If you create a second and somewhat gratuitous and redundant list article, that is fine. However please leave this article alone. Thank you...Modernist (talk) 18:11, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
- Comment - Exclusivity doesn't help this article or the encyclopedia or the movement in general. The Hudson River School article is a central depository of information that relates to several 19th century artists. The artists on the list link to separate and wide ranging facets of the Hudson River School movement. Limiting obvious inclusions like Weir and Hazeltine looks like WP:OWN on the part of a few editors. This ideally is about the wider accumulation of knowledge, and not about exclusivity or compounded and limiting omissions. Modernist (talk) 00:06, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Somewhere in the Wiki guidelines there is a reminder that the encyclopedia is not meant to encompass everything. For instance: an article on Italian Renaissance painting could be limited to the 15 or 20 most notable masters, or could encompass several dozen more, depending on its scope and ambition. I do think a legitimate case can be made either way. That is why I wished to revisit Haseltine; not to create a debate, but out of legitimate curiosity regarding appropriateness of certain artists, and the inclusiveness of this particular list. One could make the broad case for artists as diverse as Haseltine, Homer, and Inness, but one could also justifiably note that their most important contributions were quite apart from the HRS proper. I don't think a narrower range sponsors exclusivity in some elitist sense, but would seek to stick to a more strictly defined meaning for the HRS. I am neither an expert on the HRS nor certain of the flexibility of its inclusiveness; this much is clear, since I added Haseltine, and then had second thoughts. I trust that I have clarified nothing! JNW (talk) 00:27, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the broad definition is apropos here. The opening lead defines the HRS as essentially landscape painting in the upper regions of NY state and New Hampshire. Clearly by that narrow definition Bierstadt, Church, Haseltine, Moran, Duncanson and a few others should be eliminated. Seems to me the HRS was a romantic movement in American painting from the early to mid 19th century with wide ranging American artists painting landscapes from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean; from the Catskill Mountains to the Rocky Mountains; in South America, North America and Europe. Initially inspired by a central allegiance located at the National Academy in New York City. Matisse painted briefly in North Africa, did he then become a North African painter? I am not an expert on the HRS either and I agree that the article should not include everything but I think we need to approach the article with the distance that the 21st century affords, and with WP:UCS. Obviously Church, Bierstadt and the others belong including Weir. Modernist (talk) 01:39, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I created the List of Hudson River School artists and could use some help fleshing it out. I've put the artists from the current article into a sortable list, but need help updating photos and summary descriptions. In the meantime, I suggest we remove most of the artists listed in the main Hudson River School article. I'm sure we could all argue about it for a long time, or we could pull out the many books and try to pick one list. Or, IMHO, let's pick something arbitrary, yet I suspect appropriate.
Bierstadt, Church, Cole, Cropsey, Durand, Hart, Hill, Kensett, Moran and Weir all have nice sized articles with photos of the artists and their work. IMHO, that's the list right there. Obviously they're important enough that people have spent time improving the articles. The stub articles and their respective artists can wait until someone puts time into them. I know, I know, this list doesnt include *your* favorite artist. That's ok though, spend some time on their article. dm (talk) 03:30, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
- Nice work so far. I think your article is worthwhile and valuable. I'd prefer the current article to stay as is, at least until your new list is complete. Modernist (talk) 03:48, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
- I think it's done as much as it can be without improving the underlying articles or finding new images. So, A perhaps better question is should we just get rid of the list in the main article and turn it into a paragraph of prose about notable artists not otherwise mentioned in the article? dm (talk) 03:31, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
- I think the list should stay. The list as is on HRS is really not that long. If it begins to grow then yes a redirect to the new list would probably be called for. Let it be. Modernist (talk) 12:06, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
- Thanks for cleaning up the busy Talk page and creating the new "Archive through 2007." As you know, the discussions attempting to sort out the "Selected" list of major HRS artists are still ongoing. While archiving older Talk page discussions are certainly a good idea, I hope you will agree that it would be helpful to WP readers to find this year's discussions on this year's Talk page. For that reason, I would like to reinstate all 2008 discussions (those dating only from January 2008 and later) to the current Talk page, so that they will not be misfiled under the new archive currently titled "Archive through 2007." Jack Bethune (talk) 16:52, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
- Part of what I was hoping to do was put all of the "selected" artist discussions in the Archive so we could move this article forward, rather than continue to debate something which I find less than compelling. My personal opinion is that the "Selected List" section should be frozen while other parts of the article are improved. At some point, we should be able to remove the section entirely in lieu of inline mentions of prominent leaders of the school and the comprehensive list of all artists, major and minor. Can we all agree on that as a goal? dm (talk) 04:38, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
List of Selected Artists
As a modest proposal, I'd suggest that the current list of Selected Artists not have any additional names added to it. By this point, we've added everyone with significant connections. Anyone else can be added to the List of Hudson River School artists. dm (talk) 17:43, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
- Since there is now a place for the more obscure of the Hudson River painters, I have deleted Robert Walter Weir from the "selected" list. JJ (talk) 23:17, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
- What is the point of that? I've replaced the artist who clearly is properly on the list. This sounds a little like two editors who WP:OWN this article, Weir is correctly placed and there are references attesting to his being a Hudson River School artist, and he should stay. There were lengthy discussions, and I think this is getting a bit ridiculous...and the arbitrary criteria set forth by two editors who do not own this article, is simply too exclusive; given the references attesting Weir's inclusion as a Hudson River School artist by various bonafide sources. Although I do agree that the list as is, should not be added to... perhaps you should delete Hazeltine if you want to delete someone. Modernist (talk) 00:34, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
- I'm not sure if you meant to include me, as I was just suggesting we not add additional names. My personal belief is that we should remove this whole section in favor of the more comprehensive list and instead put more actual text describing the movement, highlighting the specific artists who were not only members, but made significant and leading contributions. But since I dont have the time to make those improvements, I've left the section alone. The last thing any of us should do is start edit warring over the names. dm (talk) 05:43, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
- Actually I wasn't referring to you, and I think your plan is a good one. I'd prefer the group as is be expanded with actual text and eventually the list can be eliminated, as you suggest. Modernist (talk) 12:26, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Robert Weir (again)
- The American Paradise exhibition could not possibly be inclusive of all the Hudson River school painters, yet included some who are not very well known (Hetzel, Parton) and some that eschewed the style (Inness). If you read Kevin Avery’s essay in the book, you see that the definition of who was a Hudson River school artist is a matter of opinion which has constantly been changing since 1879 when the term was first used. There is no single definition, and it is a term applied retroactively and derisively to artists that did not embrace the newer Barbizon and impressionist styles. To try to create an exclusive list seems doomed to failure. It is better to be inclusive, and I think most people familiar with the Hudson River school can recognize a painting done in that style. After all, it is a style, not a real school with membership.
- Although Robert Weir is not one of the more well-known painters today and was not included in the American Paradise exhibition, he has certainly been considered a Hudson River school painter in the past by other scholars. Tastes and scholarship change over time as does an artist’s style or subjects. American Paradise, which you consider a prime resource, included George Inness as a Hudson River school painter. Although his early works were in the Hudson River school style, he is best known and admired for his later Barbizon style. American Paradise was the most recent (although now 20 years old) exhibit which brought the Hudson River school back into popularity, but it was certainly not the first such exhibit. There was much interest and many exhibitions in the 1940’s when this style had a resurgence in popularity.
- To those who say that Robert Weir is not mentioned in any major books on the Hudson River painters, it is simply not true. The Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Museum did an exhibition in 1945. The book The Hudson River School by Frederick Sweet, used a Robert Weir painting from 1869 of the Hudson River as the cover illustration. The Clara Endicott Sears book Highlights Among the Hudson River Artists, one of the early books on the subject (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1947, 216 pages of text and plates)listed Robert Weir among the 22 artists profiled, and used the same Robert Weir painting of the Hudson River, which is clearly done in the Hudson River school style, as the frontispiece and cover illustration and is the only color image in the book. Many of the 22 artists listed in that book overlap with the 25 listed in American Paradise, but many do not. (American Paradise concentrates more on the so called “second generation” Hudson River school. Sears list of what she called “the most prominent artists of the Hudson River School of Painting” was as follows: Doughty, Durand, Cole, Bierstadt, Kensett, Cropsey, Robert Walter Weir, William Hart, Hinckley, Thomas Hill, De Grailly, Church, Inness, Fisher, Birch, Sonntag, Casilear, Wyant, Whittredge, Codman, Gignoux, and George Loring Brown.
- Robert Weir was included in the 1968 exhibition and book Hudson River School at the Fine Arts Center of the State University College of New York at Geneseo. He was included in the major Hudson River School exhibition put on by the R. W. Norton Museum in Shreveport, LA in 1973 “The Hudson River School: American Landscape Paintings from 1821 to 1907”. He was also listed in The Hudson River School, an annotated bibliography by Mark Sullivan, The Scarecrow Press 1991.
- Thank you to JJ (talk) for a nice piece of research done by his co-author. Well done. As it has been pointed out - Weir was a Hudson River School artist and it appears with impeccable credentials, even though he was left out of a few recent exhibitions. I've removed the word selected from the article - because as the above research shows the list was arbitrary and flawed by virtue of its being selected. Please read the above discussions that excluded Robert Walter Weir (including this little gem - ), with essentially no rationale. Modernist (talk) 22:40, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
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