Born 21 August 1796, Jefferson, N.J. 1812–20, apprentice, then partner, to an engraver copying English book illustrations. 1821, married Lucy Baldwin; hired by John Trumbull to engrave The Declaration of Independence, which established reputation as printmaker. Widowed 1830; married Mary Frank, 1834.
Early 1830s, painted portraits of the presidents; began to also work in landscape and traveled in the White Mountains and Adirondacks. 1840–41, to Europe with John Frederick Kensett and others, visiting England, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. On return to U.S., painted landscapes almost exclusively. 1845–61, second president of National Academy of Design, New York. 1849, painted Kindred Spirits, representing Thomas Cole and William Cullen Bryant. 1855, published"Letters on Landscape Painting" in The Crayon, influential journal published by his son, John. 1869, retired to Jefferson, N.J. 1878, stopped painting. Died 17 September 1886, Jefferson.
William Kloss Treasures from the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985)
Asher B. Durand studied printmaking with his father and became a successful engraver by age twenty-four. But Thomas Cole’s canvases of New York State’s mountains and cascades inspired Durand to leave engraving and become a painter. He studied in Europe during the summer of 1840, but quickly came to believe that artists should look to the scenery of America for inspiration.