The American Landscapes of Asher B. Durand, featuring over 100 works including paintings, drawings, engravings, and daguerreotypes, recreates Durand’s milieu by displaying his own works in the context of those by, or portraying, his circle of fellow artists, writers, and patrons. Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886) was one of the most important American artists of the 19th century. He was a central figure as an artist, as a founder of art institutions, and as the acknowledged leader of the American landscape school from his election as president of the National Academy of Design in 1845 until his death at the age of 90. Durand’s six-decade career began with the earliest efforts of the American artists, writers and patrons to construct a national cultural identity. Durand participated from the very beginning: first as a master banknote and reproductive engraver; then as a portrait painter recording the features of founding fathers as well as the mercantile and cultural elite of antebellum New York before turning to landscape painting.
Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886), The Solitary Oak (The Old Oak), 1844. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.75