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Asher Brown Durand

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Subject: Hudson River School, List of Hudson River School artists, Maplewood, New Jersey, Frederic Edwin Church, Henry Peters Gray
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Asher Brown Durand

Asher Brown Durand
Asher Brown Durand, circa 1869, by Abraham Bogardus
Born (1796-08-21)August 21, 1796
Maplewood, New Jersey
Died September 17, 1886(1886-09-17) (aged 90)
Maplewood, New Jersey
Nationality American
Known for Painting, Landscape art
Movement Hudson River School

Asher Brown Durand (August 21, 1796 – September 17, 1886) was an American painter of the Hudson River School.


  • Early life 1
  • Painting career 2
  • Gallery 3
  • External video 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Durand was born in and eventually died in Maplewood, New Jersey (then called Jefferson Village), the eighth of eleven children; his father was a watchmaker and a silversmith.

Durand was apprenticed to an engraver from 1812 to 1817 and later entered into a partnership with the owner of the firm, who asked him to run the firm's New York branch. He engraved Declaration of Independence for National Academy of Design; he would serve the organization as president from 1845 to 1861.

Painting career

His interest shifted from engraving to oil painting around 1830 with the encouragement of his patron, Luman Reed. In 1837, he accompanied his friend Thomas Cole on a sketching expedition to Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks and soon after he began to concentrate on landscape painting. He spent summers sketching in the Catskills, Adirondacks, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, making hundreds of drawings and oil sketches that were later incorporated into finished academy pieces which helped to define the Hudson River School.

Asher Durand, Kindred Spirits.
L-R: Henry Kirke Brown, Henry Peters Gray and Durand, 1850.

Durand is particularly remembered for his detailed portrayals of trees, rocks, and foliage. He was an advocate for drawing directly from nature with as much realism as possible. Durand wrote, "Let [the artist] scrupulously accept whatever [nature] presents him until he shall, in a degree, have become intimate with her infinity...never let him profane her sacredness by a willful departure from truth."

Like other Hudson River School artists, Durand also believed that nature was an ineffable manifestation of God. He expressed this sentiment and his general views on art in his "Letters on Landscape Painting" in The Crayon, a mid-19th century New York art periodical. Wrote Durand, "[T]he true province of Landscape Art is the representation of the work of God in the visible creation..."

Durand is noted for his 1849 painting Kindred Spirits which shows fellow Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole and poet William Cullen Bryant in a Catskills landscape. This was painted as a tribute to Cole upon his death in 1848. The painting, donated by Bryant's daughter Julia to the New York Public Library in 1904, was sold by the library through Sotheby's at an auction in May 2005 to Alice Walton for a purported $35 million. The sale was conducted as a sealed, first bid auction, so the actual sales price is not known. At $35 million, however, it would be a record price paid for an American painting at the time.

Another of Durand's painting is his 1853 Progress, commissioned by a railroad executive. The landscape depicts America's progress, from a state of nature (on the left, where Native Americans look on), towards the right, where there are roads, telegraph wires, a canal, warehouses, railroads, and steamboats.

In 2007, the Brooklyn Museum exhibited nearly sixty of Durand's works in the first monographic exhibition devoted to the painter in more than thirty-five years. The show, entitled "Kindred Spirits: Asher B. Durand and the American Landscape," was on view from March 30 to July 29, 2007. Durand is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.


External video

asher brown durand

See also


Further reading

  • Howat, John K. (1987). American Paradise: The World of the Hudson River School. New York, NY:  
  • Durand, John (2006). The Life and Times of Asher B. Durand. Hensonville, NY: Black Dome Press Corp.  
  • Ferber, Linda (2007). Kindred Spirits: Asher B. Durand and the American Landscape. New York, NY: D. Giles Ltd.  
  • Rosenbaum, Lee (2005-11-01). "At the New York Public Library, It's Sell First, Raise Money Later".  
  • "An Old-Time Artist Dead: What American Art Owes to Asher Brown Durand" (PDF).  
  • Ray, Douglas (2011-02-27). "'"Fate of Warner's art collection in question with sale of 'Progress.  
  • Cobb, Mark Hughes (2011-02-27). "'"Warner's highly respected collection loses ‘Progress.  
  • Sjostrom, Jan (2011-02-18). "Society of the Four Arts exhibiting Hudson River School paintings".  
  • Di Piero, W. S. (2008-02-27). "Oversoul".  

External links

  • Smithsonian Institution, Asher B. Durand Biography
  • The Asher B. Durand Print Collection at the New-York Historical Society
  • White Mountain paintings by Asher Brown Durand
  • Biography of Asher Brown Durand on White Mountain Art & Artists
  • Artcyclopedia: Paintings in Museums and Public Art Galleries
  • Art Archive - Asher Brown Durand
  • New York Historical Society - Lee A. Vedder, Luce Curatorial Fellow in American Art
  • "Property and Progress: Antebellum Landscape Art and Property Law
  • Reynolda House Museum of American Art
  • Art and the empire city: New York, 1825-1861, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains extensive material on Durand (see index)
  • American paradise: the world of the Hudson River school, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Durand (see index)

Green-Wood Cemetery Burial Search

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