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


Depicted here are the artist’s wife, Anna, and their first child, Caroline Alden Weir, born in 1884, seated in a large, sunny room just off the dining room and pantry of their home. The restrained palette, realistic treatment of the figures, and carefully arranged composition continue the painting style Weir had developed during the 1880s under the influence of such French artists as Jules Bastien-Lepage and Édouard Manet. However, its informal, leisure-time subject and its emphasis on light effects—especially in the bright glow filtering through the curtains and the resulting shadowed faces—look ahead to his adoption of Impressionism during the 1890s.