Robert Walter Weir was the son of Robert and Mary Katherine (Brinkley) Weir. He married twice: (1) Louisa Ferguson; (2) Susan Bayard. His son Julian Alden Weir was also an artist.
He studied art in New York City, 1822-24; in Florence, Italy, 1824-25, and in Rome, 1825-27. Upon his return he opened a studio in New York city, becoming an Associate of the National Academy of Design, 1828, and an Academician, 1829.
He was mainly a history painter. He was Professor of Drawing in the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY with the rank of Colonel, serving from 1834 to 1876. He taught JW art at USMA, where JW was top of the class for drawing.
He built the Church of the Holy Innocents at Highland Falls, West Point.
Who Was Who in America, p. 568; Gordon Fleming, The Young Whistler 1834-66, London, Boston, Sydney, 1978, pp. 95-98, 105, 106; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995.