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DURAND

Asher B. Durand
(1796-1886)

"Asher Brown Durand was born in Jefferson Village (now Maplewood), New Jersey, the eighth of eleven children. His frail health exempted him from working on the family farm; instead, he helped his father, a watchmaker and silversmith. Following an apprenticeship to engraver Peter Maverick from 1812 to 1817, Durand entered into full partnership with Maverick and ran the New York branch of the Newark-based firm. The partnership dissolved in 1820 in a dispute concerning Durand's acceptance of John Trumbull's commission to engrave The Declaration of Independence, which Durand had apparently taken on without deferring to Maverick's position as senior partner. (Maverick, who interpreted the act as a violation of their partnership agreement, heatedly accused Durand of trying to sabotage his career.) The completion of the work in 1823 established Durand's reputation as one of the country's finest engravers. An active member of the New York art community, Durand was instrumental in organizing the New-York Drawing Association in 1825 (later the National Academy of Design, which he served as president from 1845 to 1861) and the Sketch Club in 1829 (later the Century Association). During the late 1820s and early 1830s, when his interest gradually shifted from engraving to oil painting, he demonstrated a growing competence in portraiture and genre subjects. With the encouragement of his friend and patron Luman Reed, Durand ended his engraving career in 1835.

"In 1837, a sketching expedition to Schroon Lake, in the Adirondacks, with his close friend Thomas Cole seems to have determined Durand's decision to concentrate on landscape painting. In 1840, with money advanced by Jonathan Sturges, Reed's son-in-law and business partner, Durand embarked on a two-year European Grand Tour, part of which was spent in the company of the artists John Casilear, John Kensett, and Thomas Rossiter. Durand's annual summer sketching trips in the Catskill, Adirondack, and White mountains yielded hundreds of drawings and oil sketches that he later incorporated into finished academy pieces. These are the embodiment of his Hudson River School style. With the death of Cole, in 1848, Durand was recognized as the leader of American landscape painting. He died on the family property in Maplewood, to which he had retired from active professional life in 1869."

- From "American Paradise: The World of the Hudson River School"

 durand_durand_woods

Durand, Asher In the Woods 1855 Oil on canvas 60 3/4 x 48 in (154.3 x 121.9 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 durand_durand_rocky_cliff

Durand, Asher Rocky Cliff c. 1860 Oil on canvas 16 1/2 x 24 in (41.9 x 61 cm) Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

 durand_durand_rocks_and_trees

Durand, Asher Study from Nature: Rocks and Trees c. 1836 Oil on canvas 21 1/2 x 17 in (55 x 43 cm) The New York Historical Society

 durand_durand_kindred

Durand, Asher Kindred Spirits 1849 Oil on canvas 46 x 36 in (116.8 x 91.4 cm) The New York Public Library, New York City

 durand_durand_kaaterskill

Durand, Asher Kaaterskill Clove 1866 Oil on canvas 38 1/4 x 60 in (97.2 x 152.4 cm) The Century Association, New York City

 durand_durand_interior

Durand, Asher Interior of a Wood c. 1850 Oil on canvas 17 x 24 in (43.2 x 61 cm) Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts

 durand_durand_dover_plains

Durand, Asher Dover Plains, Dutchess County, New York 1848 Oil on canvas 42 1/2 x 60 1/2 in (107.9 x 153.7 cm) National Museum of American Art, Washington

 durand_durand_cold_spring_dtl

Durand, Asher Early Morning at Cold Spring Detail 1850 Oil on canvas 60 x 48 in (152.4 x 121.9 cm) Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey

 durand_durand_cold_spring

Durand, Asher Early Morning at Cold Spring 1850 Oil on canvas 60 x 48 in (152.4 x 121.9 cm) Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey

 durand_durand_beeches

Durand, Asher The Beeches 1845 Oil on canvas 60 3/8 x 48 1/8 in (153.4 x 122.2 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York