|The Signing of the Declaration of Independence,|
Painting by John Turnbull,
Engraving by Asher B. Durand, 1823
Durand got his chance to try his hand at painting when, in 1834, he was commissioned by Luman Reed to do a series of oil portraits of the first seven presidents of the United States. Reed himself is notable in American art history as being the first collector of work by exclusively American artists, having sold off earlier purchases of European masters in favor of work by Durand, Thomas Cole, and William Sidney Mount. It was Reed, in fact, who had indulged Thomas Cole in painting his Course of Empire for the private art gallery in the new home he was building. At any rate, following the successful completion of the presidential series, Durand was emboldened to try landscapes. His naturalistic style and engraver's eye for detail caused him to quickly become this country's predominant landscape painter in this country as well.
|Kindred Spirits, 1848,|
Asher B. Durand