BYU Museum of Art curator unexpectedly receives national award


Marian Wardle, a BYU alumnus and curator of American Art for the BYU Museum of Art, recently received the W.E. Fischelis Award from the Victorian Society in America for her work as an editor and co-author of the book, “The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art.”

The W.E. Fischelis Award is awarded to a book dealing with 19th-century art and artists and it is not given out every year. The award came as a surprise to Wardle.

“I didn’t know I had been nominated,” Wardle said. “I was doubly honored after discovering others who had also won the award.”

Wardle received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland where she first began to study the Weir family. While writing her dissertation on images of women sewing by Julian Alden Weir and Edmund Tarbell, she discovered a huge collection of Weir paintings and manuscripts at BYU. These collections and journals helped Wardle write her book on Robert Walter Weir and his two sons, John Ferguson Weir and Julian Alden Weir.

Through reading and studying the Weirs, Wardle, and her “fantastic team of scholars,” discovered a love and admiration for the family.

“If I could speak to one member of the family it would be Mary French Weir, wife of John Ferguson Weir,” Wardle said. “I read her journals and was fascinated. She seemed like a very intelligent and spiritual woman. We all fell in love with Mary Weir.”

The exhibition, “The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art,” was recently closed at the BYU Museum of Art and will now be traveling to the East Coast for shows in Connecticut and North Carolina.


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