Asher Brown Durand was born in Jefferson, New Jersey in 1796. He produced stunning and iconic American landscapes of the 19th century. However, he did not set out to become a landscape artist. In 1812 apprenticed for an engraver and continued in that trade becoming very well known for his skill. He gained some renown after one of his engravings was included in John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence.
A trip to the Adirondacks with fellow artist Thomas Cole inspired Asher Durand to paint landscapes. He started to take annual trips to different mountain ranges and would return with sketchbooks filled with the basis for many of his oil paintings. After exploring the Catskills and the White Mountains, Durand went to Europe and studied classic methods and the old masters. Upon his return, he focused on depicting New England and the Hudson River with Romantic flare and intricate detail.
He founded the National Academy in 1826. This was the first American institute that was by artists and for artists. Education and equality were core values. The institute also provided a support system for emerging artists and created a new way of presenting art to the public. From 1845 to 1861, Durand served as its second president. The National Academy helped support Asher Durand until the end of his career.
Asher Durand is today referred to as The Father of American Landscape Painting and his work is included in many prestigious public and private collections of works from the Hudson River School.