Like many American artists in the years after the Civil War, Weir traveled to France to pursue his artistic training and was influenced by the French Impressionists. He returned to New York in 1883, and in 1898 became a founding member of the Ten American Painters, a group of mostly impressionist artists who exhibited together for the next decade. A Flower Girl was purchased amid a firestorm of controversy. Alice Worthington Ball, a member of a group of Baltimore women artists who called themselves "The Six," wrote a stinging letter of protest to Peabody trustee General Lawrason Riggs after hearing a rumor that the painting would be purchased for the Peabody collection. She declared that A Flower Girl, "lacks all vitality, is unpleasant in technique, and has a most uninteresting and badly painted pair of hands." Turning a deaf ear to Miss Ball's suggestion that they purchase instead Jonas Lie's The Bathers or a Redfield landscape, Riggs and the trustees added A Flower Girl to the collection in 1913.
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