Weeks Paintings Reproduction and Biography
Edwin Lord Weeks was born near Boston and educated in Boston and Newton public schools, although he spent very of his adult life outside the United States. His artistic career began in 1869 with a sketching trip to Florida, then on to Surinam and other destinations in South America. Returning to Massachusetts, Edwin Lord Weeks for a short time painted landscape paintings and historical paintings in Boston.
Leaving Boston, Edwin Lord Weeks went to Paris where he studied with Leon Bonnat, and also under Jean-Leon Gerome at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Weeks, like Gerome, was interested in Oriental subject matter, and as a student traveled to North Africa, Spain, and the Middle East.
In 1872, Edwin Lord Weeks returned to Massachusetts, married his cousin, Frances Rollins Hale, and set up a studio. After less than a year, the young Weeks joined Robert Gavin, a Scottish painter, on a trip to the Mediterranean and Morocco. The rest of the 1870s Weeks spent there, returning to Boston only occasionally to exhibit and do illustration painting.
Weeks paintings during the 1870s emulated Gerome, and his painting "Departure" from the Stronghold would be typical of the style he favored during this time. During the 1880s Weeks paintings became more technical and detailed, as in "The Gate at the Fortress of Agra". One theory for this change is that Weeks, who was also a photographer, found it more convenient to capture a scene on film while traveling, and then paint from the photograph when time permitted.
Paris was his base during the 1880s, and there Weeks exhibited his paintings of India at the Salon of 1884, where he received positive recognition, and soon achieved national acclaim.Weeks continued to make painting expeditions to Persia, Turkey, and India.
As well as being a painter, photographer, and illustrator, Weeks was also a writer. Between 1893 and 1895, illustrated accounts of his many travels appeared in "Harpers" and "Scribners" magazines, later appearing in book form as "From the Black Sea through Persia and India in 1896".
After the 1890s, little is known of Weeks paintings. "Three Beggars of Cordova" at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is the only known painting from that period, and it seems to demonstrate a return to his painterly style of the 1879s. Weeks received many honors and awards during his international career, as well as belonging to several art organizations.
Little is known of Week’s personal life although his parents were affluent spice and tea merchants from Newton, a suburb of Boston. They were able to accept, probably encourage, and certainly finance their son’s youthful interest in painting and travelling
When Weeks was 21 he opened a studio in Newton. Weeks travelled to Egypt, the Holy Land and Syria as far as Damascus. His sketchbooks from that visit overflow with North African scenes. A painting depicting the port of Tangiers dated 1872 survives from this period and appears to be one of the first of Weeks paintings in the Orientalist style that he became well known for.
Having arrived in Paris, Weeks tried to enroll at the atelier of Gerome in the Whole des Beaux-Arts. However, while waiting for his application to be accepted, Weeks started to work in a private atelier, of Leon Bonnat. Bonnat was a close friend of Gerome and had also travelled with Gerome in North Africa. In September 1874 when Weeks was offered admission to Gerome’s atelier, he was so satisfied with his studies with Bonnat that he decided to stay there and not accept the proffered place. From then on the Boston journals started to call Weeks "a student of Gerome" although in fact Weeks never was. Weeks always referred to himself as a "student of Bonnat", although it is likely that he knew Gerome socially. It is thought that Weeks stayed with Bonnart for about 18 months.
Weeks travelled exstensively in Morrocco and Tangiers. Weeks didn’t exhibit paintings again either in America or at the Paris Salon until 1880. In 1883 Weeks travelled to India where he spent 2 years travelling. Edwin Lord Weeks returned to France and in 1896 he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour. Weeks continued to paint right up to his death in 1903, which is thought to have been due to an illness he contracted in India.