Monday, August 10, 2009

Asher B. Durand

Kindred Spirits by Asher B. Durand. all images this page

The painting above was painted by Ashr B Durand (1796-1886) upon the death of his friend Thomas Cole. He is shown with William Cullen Bryant, the poet who wrote Thanatopsis. This painting was recently bought at auction by Alice Walton for a reported 35 million dollars.

A former bank note engraver from New Jersey. Durand believed he was painting the face of God when he painted nature and tried to work with great fidelity. In practice he and the rest of the Hudson river school,assembled their pictures from sketches made on location. Often these paintings resembled real locations only slightly.

Asher B. Durand and Thomas Cole are the best known members of the first generation of the Hudson river school. Their painting still has a rather artificial look and actually resembles Dutch painting as much as it doers of the second generation of Hudson river school painters who are often referred to as the luminist painters. I will write about them tomorrow night.

Today was the last day of the Cape Cod workshop. I will post a few photos of that tomorrow also. I have taught in all day in the sun three days running and I am exhausted so I will close. See you tomorrow.

The painting below is, I believe, Mount Washington from the intervale. New Hampshire was the summer painting ground for a generation. I will write about that soon also.


Philip Koch said...

While Durand had more polish than Thomas Cole, I personally find him a little too polite. Cole was a little bit of a wild man and could be a tad clumsy, but heck, the guy threw his heart into it. My favorites, and I suspect Stapleton's too, are the next generation- Kensett, Gifford, Heade, Church.

There was a little Kensett oil in the Indiana University Art Museum when I went there to get an MFA. It had a dazzling light and subtle atmosphere that just got to me. I did a copy in oil in the museum, and copied an excellent Bricher coast scene oil they had as well. Learned a lot from that, as well as copies I painted looking at reproductions.
When it is you yourself who gives you the assignment to paint a copy it is a labor of love. I know my personality well enough that if some teacher had told me to do the copies I would have balked.

willek said...

What is the process to get in to a museum, the MFA, say, and do copies. I always thought I would have trouble driving up in a hack and telling them I wanted to bring my paints into the museum for this purpose.

willek said...

Err, and... have you done much copying of masterworks, Stape? When you do this, I imagine there are many ways to go about it. You might guess what pallet the original was painted in, or not, you might try to match every stroke, or not, etc, Is there a correct way? Best way?

Stapleton Kearns said...

My herat is with the next generation. I have a fondness for some of the lesser known guys like Jervis McEntee. I am going to try to convince the unwitting readers of this blog that he has a greater importance than that he is usually assigned.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I copied many drawings and several paintings as a student. I don,t know what the rules are in the museums today. But there has been an increase in rules everywhere else. I still remember when the museums provided easels to copyists. You will have to ask the MFA. they may be hostile.
Try to use similar materials . If you are copying an old master painting, you wouldn't use cadmiums or thalo. I can't imagine trying to copy a Damien Hirst in tuna for instance.
Usually the museum won't allow you to copy something the same size as the original.I think when you copy you should try to be as exact as possible. But you won't be that close. Things painted in glazes over a brown ground won't look the same painted opaquely.

Philip Koch said...

Willek, I see people copying in the National Gallery of Art in DC from time to time. They use easels provided by the museum. I know one has to call and make arrangements ahead of time, but they obviously do allow this time-honored process to go on.

willek said...

Thanks, all. I will look into it.