Asher Brown Durand
(21 August 1796 - 17 September 1886)
Asher Brown Durand, Henry Kirke Brown, Henry Peters Gray
"Cole and Durand may properly be termed the fathers of American landscape. They first effectually inspired the artistic mind with sympathies whose influence is still felt. Cole was truly a poet in sentiment, and his simple landscapes possess a charm which time does not mar. Durand likewise stimulated into activity that latent feeling for this branch of art which has become a marked feature of the American school, -- if the term is admissible, -- and his rendering of landscape is extremely sensitive and refined." -- Prof. Weir's Official Report of the American Centennial Exhibition of 1876..
"Durand's 'Lake George'  is the production of an octogenarian whom American art and American artists honor Mr. Durand treats a landscape as a poet would treat it. He uses the majestic mountains, the placid lakes, the forest trees, to express the emotion which they have awakened in him; and he does this so simply, modestly, sincerely, skillfully, with such a delightful feeling for nature and for character, with such as pleasure in the harmony and beauty of forms and colors, with so much quickness of mind, so much catholicity of taste, that one is charmed by his recitals. If his landscapes do more than justice to the green color, it is only because he sees more of these colors than some artists see." -- New York Evening Post, November 9, 1877. [Artists of the Nineteenth Century, Clara Erskine Clement and Laurence Hutton, 1879.]
DURAND, ASHER BROWN (1796-1886), American painter and engraver, was born at South Orange, New Jersey, on 21 August 1796. He worked with his father, a watchmaker; was apprenticed in 1812, to an engraver named Peter Maverick; and his first work, the head of an old beggar after Waldo, attracted the attention of the artist Trumbull. Durand established his reputation by his engraving of Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence." After 1835, however, he devoted himself chiefly to portrait painting. He painted several of the presidents of the United States and many other men of political and social prominence. In 1840, he visited Europe, where he studied the work of the old masters; after his return he devoted himself almost entirely to landscape. He died at South Orange on 17 September 1886. He had been one of the founders of the National Academy of Design in 1826, and was its president in 1845-1861. Durand may be called the father of the Hudson River School. Although there was something hard and unsympathetic about his landscapes, and unnecessary details and trivialities were over-prominent, he was a well-trained craftsman, and his work is marked by sincerity.[Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 8, 1911]