Idle Hours

Artist: Julian Alden Weir (American, West Point, New York 1852–1919 New York)

Date: 1888

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 51 1/4 x 71 1/8 in. (130.2 x 180.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Several Gentlemen, 1888

Accession Number: 88.7


When Weir returned from Europe in September 1883, he intended to earn his living by painting portraits, but throughout the 1880s he found commissions difficult to obtain. As a result, his portraits of this period are largely of friends and family, particularly of his wife Anna and their first daughter Caroline, who was born in March 1884. The artist often worked in a large sunny room just off the dining room and pantry of his home. Idle Hours depicts Weir's wife and daughter in their home; it was completed in 1888 and exhibited that year at the Fourth Annual Prize Fund Exhibition in New York, where it earned the $2,000 prize.