Edwin Lord Weeks
Edwin Lord Weeks Edwin Lord Weeks

1849 - 1903

Edwin Lord Weeks

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1849, into an affluent American family of spice and tea merchants from Newton, a suburb of Boston, Edwin Lord Weeks’s earliest known painting was made when he was eighteen-years old.

Soon after, he began to travel to paint, beginning with South America, and then Egypt, Persia, and Morocco.

In 1874, Weeks shifted to Paris with his wife to train under French orientalists. Inspired by Jean-Léon Gérôme of École des Beaux-Arts, he trained privately under Léon Bonnat. He soon emerged as the most important American artist of orientalism as he travelled extensively to paint visual chronicles of various Eastern cultures.

In 1882-83, Weeks travelled through India making several paintings of common people and royalty, becoming the first known American artist to come to India. Notable sketches and paintings done during this trip featured in his book, From the Black Sea through Persia and India. These included images of common scenes in British Indian cities such as Karachi (‘Kurrachee’), Lahore, Amritsar, Benares, Mathura, and Agra.

He returned again to India in 1887, travelling extensively till 1893, choosing, this time, to go through the ‘Rajpootana’ and Malwa (present-day Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh) to which he devoted multiple chapters in his book; with exhaustive details and prints of his paintings of various states of the ‘Rajpootana’. He not only visited but also made copious drawings and paintings on the life in the princely states of ‘Bikanir’, ‘Jodhpore’, ‘Jussulmeer’, ‘Oudeypore’, ‘Jeypore’ (Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Jaipur respectively), Alwar and Gwalior, as also ‘Cashmir’ (Kashmir), Baroda and Hyderabad— the states he collectively referred to as ‘India of the Rajahs’.

A highly awarded artist, he was decorated with the government’s Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1896. His works are widely distributed through museums in America and Europe. Weeks passed away in 1903 in Paris.

'Some future chronicler may assert, and not without reason, that the present rulers of India have contributed but few monuments equal in artistic value to those which they destroyed'



dag exhibitions

'Iconic Masterpieces of Indian Modern Art'

DAG, Mumbai, 2022

notable collections

Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, U.S.A.

Joslyn Art Museum, Nebraska, U.S.A.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, U.S.A.

Portland Museum of Art, Maine, U.S.A.

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.