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Arts and Entertainment

September 20, 2013

Fenimore to showcase works of founding family member

The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown will present an exhibition of paintings by Susan Fenimore Cooper Weil. “Rural Hours: Watercolors by Susan Fenimore Cooper Weil” will open Saturday and run through Dec. 29.

A lifelong water-colorist, Weil was a member of Cooperstown’s founding family. She was named after her ancestor, Susan Fenimore Cooper, the daughter of novelist James Fenimore Cooper. Like her namesake, Weil had a deep appreciation for Cooperstown’s Otsego Lake and the surrounding countryside, according to a media release. She kept a copy of Susan Fenimore Cooper’s book, “Rural Hours,” on her bedside table for much of her life, as a source of inspiration.

Weil began painting with watercolors in the early 1950s. Her earliest works are of the landscape near McLean, Va. She also painted coastal scenes of Maine and the Caribbean, as well as portraits of family, imaginative scenes and nature studies. Most of her work, though, depicts Otsego Lake and the local rural landscape.

Weil grew up surrounded by art and was influenced by her father, sculptor Henry Sage Fenimore Cooper, the release said. Weil was inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s paintings, and the influence of other American artists, such as Winslow Homer, Grant Wood, and Edward Hopper, is also apparent in her work.

From the loose, impressionistic scenes from Virginia, to the minimalist tree studies from her later career, Weil was an accomplished watercolorist who employed traditional as well as innovative techniques. These painterly works were complimented with more illustrative works such as the proposed New Yorker magazine covers she made in the 1970s. Weil, who died in April, continued to paint up until a few days before she died, the release said.

The Fenimore Art Museum is at 5798 Route 80 in Cooperstown. For more information about the museum, hours and admission, visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org.

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