(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Asher B. Durand"

539 
D8//8 



UC-NRLF 



$B 365 TTD 




.v 



^■^'-^ 






^^^Ite ©^tttttrtj 



V 



i 



(M^ 



Digitized by the Internet Arcinive 

in 2007 witii funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.arcliive.org/details/asherbdurandOOIiuntricli 



PORTRAIT OF A. B. DURAND 



PAINTED BY PXCHED BY 

DANIEL HUNTINGTON JAMES D. SMILLIE 

IN 1857 



ASHER B. DURAND 



A MEMORIAL ADDRESS 



DANIEL HUNTINGTON 

PRESIDENT OF THE CENTURY ASSOCIATION 



NEW YORK 

PRINTED FOR THE CENTURY 
1887 






Press of 

G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York 



• • • • ,• 

• • • • ,•» 




a. b. burans, jjisq., fussidbnt of thb national acadkmt of sbsiak.— tbou a 
photoquaph bt vbsdrices. 



At the stated monthly meeting of the Century, held 
October 2, 1886, the President of the Association 
was, on motion of Mr. Louis Lang, requested to 
prepare an address on " the long and industrious life 
of Asher B. Durand, one of the founders of the 
Century," then recently deceased. The address was 
accordingly prepared, and was read before the Cen- 
tury at a meeting, held at the rooms of the Associa- 
tion on the evening of Saturday, April 9, 1887, to 
which were especially invited the officers of the New 
York Historical Society and of the National Academy 
of Design. 

At the conclusion of the address, the Association 
requested a copy of it for publication ; and, subse- 
quently, a committee was appointed to print it for the 
Century, " with a reproduction of the portrait, now 
the property of the Club, as a frontispiece." 



ivil52376 



ASHER BROWN DURAND 

Was born at Jefferson Village (now in the township 
of South Orange, New Jersey) August 21, 1796. He 
was the eighth of a family of eleven children. The 
Durands were of French origin, descendants of 
Huguenot refugees — another instance of the loss to 
France and benefit to this country, as well as to the 
Protestant countries of Europe, of the revocation of 
the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685. 

The artist's father, John Durand, came from Con- 
necticut about 1773 and purchased a small property 
in what is now South Orange, where he died in 181 3. 
The French Huguenots' hatred of tyranny and their 
religious fervor suffered, we may believe, no injury in 
this instance by a moderate infusion of Connecticut 
steadiness. 

In those days people helped themselves, as well as 
their neighbors, and an inventive capacity was of 
great service. This ingenuity the elder Durand 
possessed in an eminent degree. He was an adept 
in mechanics, and especially in the more delicate 

5 



branches. Besides being able to make and mend 
every sort of farm implement, he was skilled in the 
manufacture of jewelry and silver-ware, such as 
spoons, ear-rings, etc., and an excellent repairer of 
watches and clocks. 

In addition to these valuable and useful gifts, he 
acted as a moral counsellor to his neighbors. Tem- 
perate in opinion, cool in judgment, and inflexibly 
honest, they could confidently consult him in all their 
difficulties. Though a plain country farmer, he was 
not indifferent to literature, judging by his books, for 
he was a subscriber to Gordon's " History of the 
United States" (a work of great interest, which every 
young American of our time should read), and he 
possessed the large folio " Brown's Bible," an im- 
portant publication of that day. His shop was a 
resort of prominent, well-to-do men of the vicinity, 
where they discussed political and social questions, 
serving as an intellectual exchange or club (one of 
the seeds, in fact, of the Century), suiting the simple 
primitive habits of those colonial days. At the 
breaking out of the Revolution our artist's father 
enlisted in the army, but the authorities discovering 
his skill in mechanics, sent him back to make bayo- 
nets, the troops being sadly deficient in arms. The 
family possess one of those bayonets, unstained, I 



believe, with the blood of British grenadiers. In one 
of General Washington's reconnoitring rides on the 
mountain behind the Durand farm, his spy-glass was 
broken, and it was given to the farmer to mend. 

These incidents give an idea of the social and in- 
tellectual atmosphere which influenced the boyhood 
of Durand. The ornamental chasing which the 
father must have occasionally practised in finishing 
silver-ware and adorning watch-cases, we may well 
believe, fostered in the boy a fondness for artistic 
forms. The youth's education was only that of a 
village school at the beginning of this century. The 
grammar he used is a small volume, bound in sheep, 
with the inscription, " Bought July 8, 1811," its cover 
tastefully decorated by himself with pen scroll-work 
surrounding his monogram — his mind more en- 
grossed, perhaps, with this outside illumination than 
with the nouns and verbs within. 

Before he left his father's house, he studied an 
ingenious machine to render the abstract rules of 
grammar visible to the eye, by certain parts and 
movements demonstrating the meaning of the various 
parts of speech. At the old homestead, some ruins 
of this machine — wheels, mirrors, weights, etc. — re- 
mained for many years, an incomprehensible mystery 
to the present generation. 



This grammatical machine was made by his elder 
brother, Cyrus Durand, to whose inventive genius we 
are indebted for great progress in the mechanic arts. 
His geometrical lathe, used in the processes of bank- 
note engraving, is one of the most remarkable instru- 
ments known in the mechanical world. The idea of 
the grammar machine was not original with him ; 
he took it from an acquaintance and worked it out 
for practical application. In 1814, when eighteen 
years of age, Durand delivered a Fourth-of-July 
oration at the Presbyterian Church in Springfield, 
New Jersey, which was regarded by all his female 
acquaintances, old and young, as a masterpiece of 
thought and oratorical display. On the delivery of 
this oration, in which the " British Lion " was se- 
verely handled, in accordance with the spirit of the 
time, the audience and the orator marched in proces- 
sion, accompanied by two of his brothers playing fife 
and drum. Such experiences served as a discipline, 
and filled out the slender opportunities of education. 

Durand was mainly his own instructor. Except in 
the fudiments of engraving, he had no master, and 
not even afterwards in painting. Even in engraving, 
he began through his own unaided genius. In those 
times, in the back of the outer one of the usual double 
watch-cases, was placed a small watchmaker's card, 



engraved on thin paper more or less ornamented. 
To produce one of these the young Durand ham- 
mered a copper cent thin and smooth enough to en- 
grave on, and then made the tools with which to do 
the work. It was this effort which led to his pursuit 
of that art. A French gentleman, living at Elizabeth, 
on seeing this experiment, recommended sending the 
boy, when sixteen years old, to New York to learn 
engraving. In after years, at one of the evening re- 
ceptions of the Academy of Design, when Durand, 
then president, was toasted and loudly called for, he 
made some remarks, and among other things said : 
" I began to love art when I was only so high'' put- 
ting his hand down below the knee. The reporters 
were puzzled about expressing the idea. The French 
gentleman's advice was followed, and application was 
made to an engraver named Leney, an Englishman 
who charged $i,ooo for taking him. This demand 
being too high for the Durand purse, he was appren- 
ticed to Peter Maverick, an engraver of reputation 
at the time, with whom he remained till he was twenty- 
one (five years). He soon surpassed his master, many 
of the works bearing Maverick's name, having been 
chiefly, and some entirely, executed by the pupil. A 
noted example is the engraved portrait of Genl. Bain- 
bridge. The dry and feeble execution of Maverick 



gradually has disappeared under the growing force 
and expression of Durand, and in this and other 
prints his firm and harmonious lines and lifelike 
character are clearly visible. 

During this apprenticeship the principal employ- 
ment was the copying of English engravings of a small 
size for the publishers, or the fanciful headings of 
cards and invitations, a fashion which had employed 
the talents of Bartolozzi in England, as engraver, and 
of Cipriani, Stothard, Westall, and others in designs. 
When this apprenticeship expired at Durand's twenty- 
first year, Maverick showed his good sense in securing 
his pupil's skill by making him a partner in the busi- 
ness. The style of the firm was Maverick & Durand, 
and much of the engraving bearing that imprint is 
the exclusive work of Durand. This partnership con- 
tinued for about five years. 

It has been said that engraving was at that time 
almost the only artistic pursuit in this country which 
could furnish a reasonable support. This is a mistake. 

Trumbull was busy with his battle-pieces, and often 
painted portraits. Vanderlyn had painted the por- 
traits which enlisted Aaron Burr in his favor. Waldo 
was then a student, beginning to practise portraiture, 
and eking out a scanty purse by painting signs for 
hatters, butchers, and tapsters. Some of those pic- 



II 



tures of beaver hats with their beautiful gloss, or ribs 
of beef and fat chickens, or foaming mugs of ale in the 
hands of jolly topers, which were swinging in the 
wind in our boyish days, were the handicraft of 
Waldo, as he himself told the writer ; and, in after 
days, as he glanced at them, cracked and sobered by 
sun and rain, he was mortified, he said, to think that 
he had improved so little in the lapse of years. Jarvis, 
too, was starting on that series of the heroes of the 
war of 1812, some of which Durand afterwards en- 
graved, and which now adorn the Governor's room at 
the City Hall. It was the incident of the copper 
plate hammered out from a cent, and the engraving 
on it for a watch-case, that turned the course of 
Durand in that direction, instead of painting, and we 
may be grateful, for it was not only an excellent dis- 
cipline for him, but has given us an invaluable series 
of prints, which must be more and more treasured as 
time goes on. 

Portrait engraving, nevertheless, was the main 
stay of engravers. Durand's accurate drawing, which 
he was constantly improving by careful study in the 
evenings at home, enabled him to preserve the like- 
ness, as well as to execute his plates with that clearness 
and precision of line and freedom of handling which 
characterized all he touched. 



12 



His first original work in engraving, when, instead 
of copying the work of others, he engraved directly 
from a painting, was the head of a beggar, known as 
" Old Pat." This painting is by Waldo, is strongly 
painted, and now belongs to the Boston Athenaeum. 
It is usually called " A Beggar with a Bone," and 
Durand's engraving was so well executed as to call 
forth the admiration of Col. Trumbull, who had, 
about that time, tried to engage Heath of London 
to engrave his '* Declaration of Independence," but 
had declined to do so on account of the extravagant 
charge. He then applied to Durand, who was willing 
to undertake it for $3,000, half the amount which 
Heath had demanded. Maverick wished to be joined 
in the commission, but Trumbull wisely demurred. 
Maverick objected, was offended, and the partnership 
was dissolved. Durand was now his own master, and 
gladly received the commission. He was chiefly en- 
gaged on this large plate for three years, and the 
result was the masterpiece we know so well. In it he 
has preserved the likenesses with great fidelity, com- 
bining a free and vigorous use of the lines with a 
broad and rich effect of light and shade most attrac- 
tive to the eye. It established his reputation as a 
master of the art. Durand always spoke gratefully 
of Trumbull, who thus recognized and encouraged 



13 

him. Trumbull painted his portrait, which is in 
possession of the family. 

In the collection of the engravings by Durand 
belonging to his son, the various stages of this print 
can be seen, from the first outline to its final perfec- 
tion, showing the gradual process of the patient and 
skilful hand — an invaluable lesson of the engraver's 
art. Trumbull was greatly pleased. In a letter to 
the Marquis de Lafayette, dated New York, October 
20, 1823, he writes : " I have sent to the care of 
Wells, Williams, & Co., bankers in Paris, who will 
forward it to you, a small case containing a proof im- 
pression {avant la lettre) of a print which has been 
engraved here from my painting of the Declaration 
of Independence, by a young engraver, born in this 
vicinity, and now only twenty-six years old. This 
work is wholly American^ even to the paper and 
printing, a circumstance which renders it popular 
here, and will make it a curiosity to you, who knew 
America when she had neither painters nor engravers, 
nor arts of any kind, except those of stern utility'' 

The name of the engraver is not given, probably 
because his signature was on the plate, with that of 
Trumbull, as is usual in proofs. 

After this Durand executed many small engravings 
for annuals, then coming into fashion. Most of these 



14 



small prints were copied from large English engrav- 
ings, but some from original paintings. 

The " Dull Lecture," after Newton's charming 
picture, at that time in the collection of Philip 
Hone, now in the Lenox Library, and " Ann Page, 
Slender and Shallow," after Leslie's fine group, 
also then belonging to Philip Hone, but unfor- 
tunately not now in this country — these small 
engravings are gems of beauty. So are also 
" The Sisters," after Morse, and " The Power of 
Love," representing Cupid riding and controlling a 
dragon, after a renaissance design. The painting 
belonged to a noted dealer and restorer known as 
" Old Paff," in whose dimly lighted and musty den 
the connoisseurs of early New York congregated to 
wonder at the " Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff " 
which the lean and keen-eyed " Paff" had raked up, 
begrimed and daubed over, in some obscure pawn- 
broker's shop, and cleaned and brought out in gemmy 
brilliance, and over whose beauties he would expatiate 
enthusiastically for hours. 

From 1822 to 1836 Durand was mainly an engraver, 
but was constantly improving by the practice of draw- 
ing, chiefly during the evenings at home, also at the 
old American Academy, and then again in the schools 
of the National Academy after its foundation in 182^, 



'5 

he having been actively engaged in originating that 
institution. 

I remember well the careful and accurate drawings 
he made as lately as 1836 and 1837, soon after the 
first life-school was opened at the Academy rooms in 
Beekman St. (Clinton Hall). He was then an estab- 
lished artist, forty years old, but was a devoted student 
of the figure in the life-class. 

When he first came to New York (in 18 12) he said 
there was but one store in which the most ordinary 
print could be found for sale, and a lithograph he saw 
seemed to him an extraordinary masterpiece of art. 
There were no shops for plaster casts, but already the 
American Academy of Arts had a collection of casts 
of statues and busts, purchased for them by Mr. Rob. 
R. Livingston, then our minister to France. Dunlap 
speaks of Durand as drawing from these casts in 181 7, 
and notices his proficiency at that time. These studies 
of antique sculpture strongly influenced the style of 
bank-note engraving, in which Durand was actively 
engaged during some years. His designs for this pur- 
pose show a refined and classical taste which he may 
be said to have introduced, and which corresponded 
with a theory he often expressed, that the mind and 
feeling of the artist, and not a mere imitation of 
natural objects, inclined the intelligent observer to 



i6 

appreciate works of art. He maintained that the great 
artists of antiquity chose objects in nature to express 
human emotions, to tell a story, and not, like some 
fashionable schools of the day, making it a prime ob- 
ject to exhibit the dexterity of a brilliant execution, 
and thus reduce art to a contest for technical skill. 

In his landscapes he remained true to this principle, 
using the facts of nature to express a certain feeling 
and poetical sentiment. His aim was thus creative, 
though in his studies he was marvellously realistic and 
exact. In his bank-note vignettes you may find the 
gods and goddesses adapted to the most utilitarian 
subject. In a common one-dollar bank-note he intro- 
duced a beautitul antique figure of Justice holding the 
scales, and in an illustration for the Erie Canal, Nep- 
tune starting the waters of the lakes towards the sea, 
and in the distance the canal-boats being " locked 
down " to tide-water. He was perhaps the first to in- 
troduce the gods of Olympus to the banks of finance, 
and there they have been held in bonds to this day. 

Durand's taste in design and skill in the use of the 
graver had the effect to attract other men of rare 
talent to bank-note engraving, as in the instance of 
Casilear, who became his pupil, and soon distinguished 
himself for the force and brilliancy of his execution, 
following also the example of the elder artist by de- 



17 

voting himself to landscape, in which field he has won 
so much honor. The superior execution of American 
bank-notes secured for this country the production of 
paper currency, bonds, etc., for foreign countries, as 
well as the enormous business of our own government. 
At the present time the chief production of such en- 
graving is for the South American States, and espe- 
cially for Brazil. In 1822 Durand had an assistant 
named Pekinino, a clever Italian engraver, but an un- 
principled adventurer. They engraved each other's 
portraits, and soon after they separated. The star of 
Bolivar, the South American Liberator, just then rose 
to the zenith of popular favor, and Pekinino, suffering 
from chronic consumption of the purse, saw a chance 
of reaping a small harvest. Possessing the plate of 
the portrait of his friend Durand, he erased his name, 
substituted that of Bolivar, and sold it as a veritable 
likeness of the popular hero. The print is well en- 
graved, and is a fair likeness of Durand in youth. 

After the large plate of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, Durand executed many portrait prints — a 
full length of Gen. Jackson, then the hero of the war, 
after the full length by Vanderlyn in the City Hall, a 
spirited work ; also a number of distinguished clergy 
men, showing that the churches were devoted to their 
pastors, and the people wanted their portraits To 



this we are indebted for the speaking intellectual 
countenances of Larned, Milnor, Mason, Nott, Spring, 
Sprague, Milledollar, and Summerfield. Durand's 
Mason well portrays the energetic and earnest expres- 
sion of that divine ; and Summerfield, who moved 
enormous audiences to tears, in Durand's print yet 
beams with evangelic fervor. Verplanck, the first 
president of the Century, and a man of consummate 
judgment in art and oratory, often spoke of these por- 
traits with admiration. 

In 1824 the city published an important work com- 
memorative of the Erie Canal Celebration, and for 
this Durand engraved several strongly characterized 
portraits — Cadwallader C olden, then Mayor, also 
Philip Hone, Wm. Paulding, and Dr. Mitchell, manly 
works, now exceedingly scarce and valuable. 

None of Durand's portrait engravings excel some 
of those small ones he executed for Herring and 
Longacre's National Portrait Gallery, and of these the 
heads of Gov. Ogden, Chief-Justice Marshall, Chas. 
Carroll, and Col. Trumbull, hold preeminent rank. 
The Marshall is after Inman, and is admirable. Gov. 
Ogden was done from a life-size portrait painted by 
Durand himself. The Chas. Carroll (preferred by 
some) is after Chester Harding, and represents the 
patriotic signer in his venerable age and calm 



19 

dignity. The Trumbull is from the Waldo portrait 
in the Yale College gallery, and is truly a gem of art. 
While it was in progress, Trumbull gave Durand sit- 
tings for the perfection of the plate, and with those 
masterly yet delicate strokes of the graver he added 
an expression of individual life which greatly enhances 
its interest. Remembering Trumbull well, and often 
meeting him in my early years, I see in the print the 
very expression of the living man, the clever artist, 
the mettlesome soldier, and the polished gentleman 
of the old school. 

These plates may well serve as examples for portrait 
engravers nowadays. We see too many cold, dry, and 
mechanical portrait-prints — sooty in effect, dull in ex- 
pression, and terribly like the originals, ruled off by 
machinery in haste for a grab at the beggarly prices 
for which they are ordered. There are exceptions, 
certainly, and among them some of the small portraits 
on bank-notes. The wood engravers also have given 
us some fine examples. 

Although so much occupied with engraving, Durand 
took the time to paint an occasional portrait or group 
of figures. In 1825 he was a ringleader of that band 
of rebel students of the old American Academy of 
Fine Arts, who, disgusted with the harsh response 
to their request for better opportunities for drawing 



20 



from the antique, united in a society for evening 
study, which soon resulted in the foundation of the 
National Academy of Design. To the first exhibition 
of this Academy, in 1826, and to several succeeding 
ones,' he not only contributed proof impressions of his 
engravings, but paintings ; and the landscape back- 
grounds he introduced in portraits of ladies and chil- 
dren charmed the visitors and gave a foretaste of his 
talents in that direction. It is evident from the early 
catalogues, that he was then aiming at serious histori- 
cal painting. In 1826, the first exhibition of the N. 
A. D., he sent " Mary Magdalen at the Sepulchre." 
The following year he contributed " Samson shorn of 
his locks by the Philistines while asleep in the lap 
of Delilah," and, in 1829, a " Hagar and Ishmael." 
In 1831, another "Samson and Delilah," meaning, 
doubtless, to warn the strong men of New York to 
beware of the blandishments of the enticing belles 
of the period, whose snares were spread at that time 
only from the Battery to Chambers St. The same 
year he exhibited the first decided venture in the field 
where he was to win such unfading laurels — " A View 
of the Catskill Mountains," probably the scene on the 
creek, which he afterwards engraved of a small size 
with great delicacy and refinement. 

In 1833, he sent a portrait of a noted man who, at 



21 



that day, was stirring the vitals of the dyspeptic world 
by his lectures on diet — Sylvester Graham, the 
founder of ''Graham Bread^' "one slice of which," 
Catherine Sedgwick said, " was enough to sanctify a 
whole dinner." Graham not only invented brown 
bread, but he wrote verses. One of his efforts in this 
line is a satirical poem, called forth on the first appear- 
ance of that fashionable protuberance to a lady's cos- 
tume, called " The Bustle," which is the title of the said 
poem. Durand, to please Graham, and doubtless wil- 
ling to help satirize a form, which belied so villainously 
the chaste contour of a Venus or Diana, furnished a 
design for the cover, representing a lady in profile with 
a number of cupids hovering over and dancing on this 
part of her attire. The poem was printed, but, on 
the eve of publication, suppressed. Mr. John Durand 
has a copy, and it would well come in play now that 
the bustle is again raging and rampant. 

In the same exhibition, 1833, appeared that striking 
and truthful portrait of Gov. Ogden, now in the col- 
lection of the Historical Society. 

Then follow in '34 and '35 the fine portraits of 
President James Madison and John Quincy Adams, 
the property of the Century Club. That of Madison 
was painted in the extreme old age of the ex-President, 
and is accurately drawn and refined in color, represent- 



22 



ing so well the pallor and thoughtfulness of the ven- 
erable statesman as to place it in the front rank of 
portraiture. These and several other portraits of 
distinguished men were commissioned by a man 
whose acquaintance Durand made at that time — Mr. 
Luman Reed, whose friendship had a lasting effect 
on the career of the artist. Mr. Reed was the first 
American who formed a collection wholly composed 
of works of our own artists. Besides several portraits, 
he ordered historical subjects, and his warm friendship 
and enlightened and generous treatment of Durand, 
as well as of Cole, Mount, Flagg, and other Ameri- 
can artists, gave an impetus to the art of our country, 
and was soon followed by others in the same spirit. 
The portrait of Mr. Reed (exhibited in the Durand 
collection at Ortgie's Gallery), the property of Mr. 
Sturges, is a truthful likeness of one of the noblest of 
our New York merchants. The collection he formed 
became, after his death, through the liberality of his 
relatives and friends. The New York Gallery of Fine 
Arts, since united to that of the Historical Society. 

A group of New York merchants, warm friends of 
Durand, caught Mr. Reed's spirit, and distinguished 
among them was Jonathan Sturges, who formed a 
valuable collection wholly of American art, aided lib- 
erally in the establishment of the New York gallery, 



23 

and in connection with Chas. M. Leupp, another 
noble friend of our artists, furnished a large amount of 
money toward the purchase of ground and building of 
the galleries in Broadway opposite Bond St., owned 
by the Academy, and in which the exhibitions were 
held for several years. 

Abraham M. Cozzens should be remembered as 
associated with these gentlemen in the liberal and in- 
telligent cultivation of art, and who, by his enthusi- 
asm, aroused a similar spirit in a large circle of friends, 
such as Marshall O. Roberts, Robert M. Oliphant, 
Wm. H. Osborn, and others. 

The engraving of Musidora, executed from an 
original design by Durand, is a work of this period, 
and was done to try his skill in engraving the nude 
figure. It is a charming work, but the taste of the 
public did not lead in that direction ; on the contrary, 
there was then a decided prejudice against nude 
figures, and, consequently, the Musidora, which is 
a beautiful and graceful figure and finely engraved, 
failed to secure the admiration its merits deserved. 

The figure subjects and portraits which chiefly 
occupied the time of Durand at this period show that 
he considered this the department he was to follow. 
The passion for landscape had not yet taken complete 
possession of his mind. The difiiculty of procuring 



24 

models or costumes was great. The various studio 
properties needed to pursue figure composition were 
not at hand, but the open fields invited him : there 
was a free range and every variety to tempt the 
painter. He began to yield to the delight of land- 
scape, and was heard to say : "I leave the human 
trunk and take to the trunks of trees." 

In 1836, when I was a pupil under Prof. Morse, I 
first met Durand. Ver Bryck, then also a fellow- 
student, and who had made the acquaintance of 
Durand at the schools of the Academy, took me 
to the studio of the great engraver. He received us 
with the frank cordiality which was always his char- 
acteristic trait, and showed us some plates in progress, 
among others that of the Ariadne, then approaching 
completion. We expressed our delight at its exceed- 
ing delicacy and beauty, and he asked if we would like 
to see the original painting. Though two rather bash- 
ful young men, we perhaps somewhat too eagerly 
assented to the proposal. 

He at once drew back a dark green curtain which 
hid the picture from the vulgar gaze. A sudden light 
seemed to burst on the shaded studio -from the lumi- 
nous and palpitating figure of th^ sleeping beauty. 
The sombre depths of olive foliage under which she 
reposed heightened the glow of her graceful and 



25 

tenderly rounded form. One fancied that her calmly 
closed lids would open and the startled girl hastily 
wrap the drapery about her to hide such loveliness from 
profane eyes. The engraving renders the drawing, 
the subtle gradations of light, the luminous shadows, 
the sweet repose of the whole, with a skill never 
surpassed. 

But let us, sober Centurians, beware of the intoxi- 
cation which long ago enticed the frenzied Bacchus, 
lord of the purple grape, to lose his senses at the feet 
of this bewitching goddess. 

At about the year 1836 Durand's career as an en- 
graver ended. His reputation was established on 
solid grounds. His triumph was complete. His 
chief works in that department take rank with the 
masterpieces of Morghen, Strange, and Sharp, and 
are treasured among collectors as acknowledged ex- 
amples of high art. 

For several years he was mainly a figure and por- 
trait painter. This was a second and marked period 
in his life. 

A portrait of Edward Everett, who was then be- 
ginning to attract attention as an orator, was greatly 
admired. Durand gave to it a bold arrangement of 
drapery, by a cloak thrown over one shoulder in the 
Spanish fashion then prevailing ; the broad black- 



26 

velvet lining contrasting with the lucid color of the 
flesh and the flashing eye of the Senator. 

During this period appeared the cabinet group of 
" The Pedlar," the '' Capture of Major Andre," and 
the " Wrath of Peter Stuyvesant." The latter, an il- 
lustration of Irving's " Knickerbocker," and " The 
Pedlar," painted for Luman Reed, are now at the 
Historical Society. Three artists sat for heads in the 
group of the " Wrath of Peter Stuyvesant," somewhat 
caricatured to suit the story. Stuyvesant, it was said, 
was a portrait of Luman Reed. The tall, frightened 
attendant Durand painted from himself, and General 
Cummings acted as trumpeter. His next picture, the 
" Capture of Major Andre," was engraved by Alfred 
Jones for the Art Union. He was careful to tell the 
story truthfully, and has portrayed the self-possessed 
ease and military bearing of Andre, as well as the 
quiet determination and honest patriotism of Paulding 
and his companion. The engraving was so well exe- 
cuted as to establish the reputation of Alfred Jones, 
was widely disseminated, and has been reproduced in 
signs and banners. 

In 1838 appeared " Rip Van Winkle with the Crew 
of Hendrick Hudson," imbued with the weird mystery 
which Irving has thrown around the legend. 

The portrait of Bryant was a much later work — 



27 

painted after Durand had ceased to exhibit figures 
or portraits. This belongs to the poet's family, while 
the Century has a duplicate, and is a faithful likeness 
of the then middle-aged poet, though few can now 
recall his appearance at that day. The admirable 
engraving of this portrait by Alfred Jones was 
worked upon by Durand by request of the engraver, 
and was the last time he took the graver in hand. 
Some time before bidding a final farewell to his 
practice as an engraver, he was stealthily indulging 
his love for landscape in a room adjoining his en- 
graver's studio. On one occasion the writer was 
admitted into this mysterious sanctum, and on his 
easel was a picture which Durand modestly spoke of 
as a " doubtful experiment " — a scene in the Catskill 
region, in which a river flowed calmly through fields 
and past forests, leading the eye towards a distant 
chain of mountains, over which floated a silver haze. 
And in 1838 he exhibited a twilight, which rendered 
with much feeling the solemn glow and deep-toned 
richness of the hour. 

In 1839 ^^^ '40 ^^ had given himself heartily to 
landscape, and two important pictures, " Morning " 
and " Evening," — painted for F. J. Betts, and now in 
New Haven, — held crowds of visitors in admiration. 
Soon there was exhibited another large picture. 



28 

called " Sabbath Bells," painted for Gouverneur 
Kemble, of Cold Spring. It was a lovely scene 
near a sequestered village. Over the still water and 
through the old elms the sunlight streamed cheerily ; 
a holy calm seemed to pervade the air ; a few vil- 
lagers were on their way to church, and one could 
fancy he heard the bells sounding softly through the 
luminous atmosphere. 

Durand had been a pioneer in engraving ; he was 
now a pioneer in another very important branch of 
study, viz., that of painting carefully finished studies 
directly from nature out-of-doors. Before his day 
our landscape painters had usually made only pencil 
drawings or, at most, slight water-color memoranda of 
the scenes they intended to paint, aiding the memory 
by writing on the drawing hints of the color and 
effect. Cole, to be sure, lived at Catskill, in full view 
of magnificent scenery, and was endowed with a 
wonderful memory, so that he gave an astonishing 
look of exact truth to many of his pictures of Ameri- 
can scenery, but he rarely, if at all, up to that period, 
painted his studies in the open air. 

Durand went directly to the fountain-head, and 
began the practice of faithful transcripts of " bits " 
for use in his studio, and the indefatigable patience 
and the sustained ardor with which he painted these 



29 

studies not only told on his elaborate works, but 
proved a contagious influence, since followed by most 
of our artists, to the inestimable advantage of the 
great landscape school of our country. 

In 1840 Durand went to Europe in company with 
Casilear, Kensett, and Rossiter. He remained 
abroad a year, visiting London, Holland, Switzer- 
land, and Italy. As is frequently the case at the first 
acquaintance with the old masters, there was some 
disappointment. At the National Gallery in London 
he saw Claude's pictures for the first time. He 
wrote : " They do not astonish me, although there 
are parts in some of them of surpassing beauty. 
There is generally a cold green and blue appearance 
about them, and no particularly striking effects in 
color or light and shade. Still, on careful examina- 
tion, they evince that knowledge of nature for which 
Claude is celebrated, particularly in atmosphere, the 
character and softness of foliage, and more especially 
in water, as seen in some of his seaport subjects. 
On the whole," he said, " I am somewhat disap- 
pointed in Claude. I see but two or three of his 
works which meet my expectations, but," he adds, 
"to me these alone are worth a passage across the 
Atlantic." In London he met Leslie and Wilkie, 
then at the zenith of their fame. He describes 



so 

Wilkie as " a gruff -looking Scotchman of plain, blunt 
manners, truly Scotch in face and accent." Durand 
had not the luck to surprise Wilkie, as Hayden did, 
stripped to the waist and painting from himself 
before a mirror and exclaiming : " Capital practice, 
Hayden ! " 

During this visit he saw Turner also, and visited 
the house where his paintings were kept. Few were 
admitted to this den, which was a wilderness of 
accumulated studies and works in every stage of 
progress. Some time after this Turner, on being 
shown Smillie's engraving of an illustration Durand 
made for Halleck's poems, called " Our Own Green 
Forest-Land," said that it was the finest thing he had 
seen of American art. 

From London he took steamer to Antwerp, enjoy- 
ing as well as he could the midnight horrors of that 
sickening channel. While at Antwerp the festival in 
honor of Rubens, and the inauguration of the statue 
of that great artist, took place. Elated by the splendid 
spectacle, he writes : " It is here that masters in the 
fine arts are duly honored. It makes one feel proud 
to be one of the fraternity. Not only the name of 
Rubens, but the names of all the distinguished Flem- 
ish and Dutch masters are posted about the streets." 

This is in the spirit of Corregio, who, on seeing a 



31 

picture of Titian, exclaimed : " Anch' lo son Pittore." 
(I also am a painter.) In Paris he made a short stay, 
drinking inspiration at the Louvre, but soon journeyed 
to Switzerland, making some sketches there which he 
afterwards painted. In October the party reached 
Florence. Here the beautiful " Marine," by Claude, 
must have strongly interested him, as the influence of 
its softly diffused light glancing over the gently dis- 
turbed sea was in harmony with some of his own later 
productions. He copied a portrait of Rembrandt in 
the Uffizzi palace. (Exhibited at the sale in 1887.) 

The winter of '40-'4i was mostly spent in Rome, 
where he was joined by his friend, F. W. Edmonds. 
There he painted some heads of the picturesque old 
models and various studies of figures, pipers, and 
Contadini, including that of a donkey, which, thanks 
to the superior facilities for studio practice in Rome, 
was hauled up a flight of stone stairs by ropes, where, 
it is needless to say, the donkey posed with becoming 
gravity. 

He also made an admirable copy of a grand head of 
a monk, by Titian, and a figure from the same paint- 
er's famous composition in the Borghese Palace, 
called " Venus Blindfolding Cupid," of which there is 
a masterly engraving by Strange. 

This European episode for a time distracted his at- 



32 

tention. The mighty works of the Venetian painters 
and the deep tones of Rembrandt strongly affected 
him. For a while after his return to New York in '41, 
he busied himself in finishing pictures begun or 
sketched abroad. In the exhibition of '42 appeared 
*' II Pappagallo, a Lady with a Parrot," of a rich 
Venetian hue. Also a number of Roman heads, two 
or three Swiss landscapes, a " Cottage on Lake Thun," 
a "View at Stratford on Avon," and soon after several 
other European landscapes. 

European images were still hovering in his brain. 
There was danger that the wild freshness of our 
American forests, lakes, and mountains might lose 
their hold on his heart. But no. His sound sense, 
the free air of his happy out-door studies, his undying 
love of country, soon resumed the sway of a first love, 
and now began anew that series of true American 
landscape, which for many years delighted the eyes of 
all true lovers of our scenery and our art, and gave 
Durand that well-earned place he holds among the 
best artists of America. 

Two important landscapes, called " The Close of a 
Sultry Day," and ** An Old Man's Reminiscences," 
the latter now in Albany, were among the first to in- 
dicate the return of his early feeling, with greatly in- 
creased knowledge and power. 



33 

In 1846 he won great applause by his exhibit of a 
large upright view from the edge of a wood, painted 
for A. M. Cozzens, and now a striking ornament in 
the collection of Mr. Morris K. Jesup. I remember well 
how the groups of artists gathered in front of it on 
varnishing day at the Academy, warmly discussing its 
merits and expressing their admiration. 

** An Old Man's Lesson " soon followed, and 
*' Dover Plains," in which he showed his skill in far- 
stretching meadows and distant hills enveloped in 
silvery light. 

One of the best works of that period, exhibited in 
'49, was a cascade in a rocky mountain gorge, in 
which he introduced Bryant and Cole standing on a 
foreground rock enjoying the scene. This picture, 
called " Kindred Spirits," was painted for presentation 
to Bryant, and is in possession of the poet's daughter, 
Miss Julia Bryant. 

One of his favorite compositions, called " Lake 
Hamlet," was painted for Gov. Hamilton Fish, and 
Mr. Walters, of Baltimore, possesses one of Durand's 
masterpieces., a large upright forest scene, truthfully 
and vigorously executed. 

Hardly any of his pictures have been more admired 
and enjoyed than the two somewhat similar ones of 
" The Primaeval Forest," painted for his friend and 



34 

pupil, Mr. Neilson, (a very rich and strongly painted 
work,) which is now in the collection on exhibition at 
Ortgies' rooms in Broadway, and the larger upright 
painted for Jonathan Sturges, called " In the Woods." 
In this great work, the solemnity of an American for- 
est is forcibly rendered ; the giant trees are rich with 
moss, fallen trunks strew the ground, a brook sparkles 
in the shady depths, and through the tangled boughs 
and leaves come flashes of a luminous sky beyond. 
Judge Speir, an intimate and life-long friend of the 
artist, possesses another fine forest scene in similar 
feeling, and rich in color. 

The open scene of the Catskill clove, with moun- 
tain sides in a gray atmosphere, is our Century pict- 
ure ; and he also painted the study of " Franconia 
Notch," on the easel, in the half-length portrait of 
him which was painted by the writer for the Century. 
That study on the easel is a reduced copy of a large 
picture, which he was painting for Robert L. Stuart at 
the time he was sitting for the portrait. 

The sculptor Brown was an intimate friend of 
Durand, and modelled a bust of him, an excellent 
likeness (recently presented to the Academy of 
Design by John Durand). The sculptor had at his 
house in Newburgh a " June Shower," by Durand — 
one of his best efforts, in which the sunlight is burst- 



35 

ing through a rift in the hurrying clouds and streaking 
with brightness a part of the dripping valley. (This is 
also now in the Exhibition in Broadway.) 

Durand was fond of Lake George scenery, and 
there painted many of his best studies. I visited the 
pleasant resort he frequented late in life, called Bosom 
Bay, at Hewlett's Landing. Arriving late in the 
afternoon, as the shadows were deepening in the 
ravines of Black Mountain, we were kindly welcomed 
by the white-haired artist, who was smoking his quiet 
pipe, on the old-fashioned stoop of the snug farm- 
house, surrounded by a group of friends and members 
of his family. The following day we made a party to 
row to Harbor Island for sketches and a pic-nic. It 
was a lovely day in the early autumn. Harbor Island 
is one of the beauties of Lake George — irregular in 
shape, varied by forests and rocky shores, having a 
sequestered interior bay with a narrow entrance, where 
the still, transparent water, protected from wind, re- 
flects every leaf. Durand, with his accustomed indus- 
try, was soon busy with a study. Some sketched, or 
strolled about, or lounged with idle oars to various 
points of the shore. The views are beautiful. To 
the east rises the massive form of Black Mountain ; to 
the south stretches the lake, dotted by the hundred 
islands of the Narrows ; and the western outlook is 



36 

hemmed in by the broken outline, deep forests, and 
rocky precipices of Tongue Mountain. In this fasci- 
nating region Durand calmly but earnestly pursued his 
summer studies for several seasons. The serene, 
translucent waters of Lake George were typical of the 
frank, placid, and truthful spirit of the man. 

Durand seldom attempted scenes of storm or vio- 
lence ; such were not in his natural vein, and are not 
executed with the hearty spirit of his gentler works. 
One of the noblest and most successful of these bolder 
efforts was painted for Robert Oliphant, to whom our 
artists are deeply indebted for his cheering personal 
friendship and intelligent encouragement of American 
Art. The picture referred to is called " The Symbol." 
An ominous storm is gathering and blackening around 
a mountain ; a giant peak rises high above the murky 
confusion below, catching a golden flush of sunlight 
through a rift in the clouds. It is an admirable pict- 
ure, but the hopeful glow on the granite peak reflects 
more of the artist's cheerful temper than the dismal 
strife of the swirling clouds below. What a contrast to 
this is the bright, sunny, and consoling picture called 
" Sunday Morning," kindly sent from Providence by 
the owner, Mr. Royal Taft, to grace the Memorial Ex- 
hibition of the artist's works, now open at Ortgies'. A 
sweet serenity pervades it in every part. It is a poem. 



37 

suggesting to the mind that stillness and feeling of 
sacred rest which is often experienced on a calm Sun- 
day morning in a beautiful country. Another picture, 
the subject of which was suggested to him by Mr. 
Sturges, and which is a complete exception to his 
usual vein, is called " God's Judgment upon Gog." It 
illustrates certain passages in the prophecy of Ezekiel. 

" Behold [saith the Lord] I am against thee, O 
Gog, the chief Prince of Mesheck and Tubal. I will 
turn thee back . . . and I will smite thy bow 
out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to 
fall out of thy right hand. . . . Thou shalt fall, 
upon the mountains of Israel thou and all thy bands. 
. . . I will give thee unto the ravenous birds 
of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be 
devoured." 

So far as I can vaguely recall the picture, it repre- 
sented a scene of darkness and desolation in the 
valley of graves. The hosts of Gog are scattered 
and falling in terror, while the blackened air is horrid 
with the ominous flight of birds of prey snuffing the 
blood of the slain oppressors of Israel. Out of a cav- 
ernous gap in the mountains rush forth hordes of wild 
beasts — tigers and leopards, swift and stealthy, thirst- 
ing for blood. There is something of an awful and 
demoniac spirit about this scene, the widest departure 



38 

from Durand's favorite themes known to me. Doubt- 
less Mr. Sturges wished to try his friend's skill in a 
grand imaginative work, and Durand studied it earn- 
estly, but it cannot be called entirely successful. 

One of the later pictures (the largest, I believe, he 
ever painted), and one of the grandest and best, is the 
" Forest Scenery " now in the Corcoran Gallery. It 
was the last he painted before moving from New 
York to New Jersey. It is a noble work, broadly and 
simply painted. It represents the profound solitude 
of the forest primeval in its grandeur and silence, 
reveals the vigor of a master's hand and the ripe 
experience of a long life of serious study, and it is, 
moreover, strongly characteristic of the calmness and 
solidity of the author's mind. It is a subject of con- 
gratulation that such a grand and representative work 
is permanently placed in a fire-proof public institution 
so important as the Corcoran Gallery. 

After his retreat to his pleasant country residence 
in Orange, he seldom exhibited at the Academy. On 
occasions he sent groups of his studies from nature, 
which were eagerly welcomed by the artists. 

A large number of these invaluable studies are at 
this moment to be seen at the exhibition in Broad- 
way, held by his executors, and are of great variety, 
beauty, and interest. 



39 

In 1874 he made his last academic exhibit — the 
** Franconia Notch," now belonging to the widow of 
Robert L. Stuart — a fine picture, painted several 
years earlier. 

His last picture^ painted in 1879, ^^^ ^ " Souvenir 
of the Adirondacks " — a sunset, in which the softly 
diffused light, spreading over a placid lake and quiet 
sky, aptly figures the tranquillity of his closing years. 
As he made the last touches to this picture, with a 
hand enfeebled by the weight of eighty-three years, 
he laid down his palette and brushes for ever, saying 
that '' his hand would no longer do what he wanted it 
to do." 

On the resignation of Prof. Morse, in 1845, Durand 
was elected President of the Academy of Design, to 
which office he was unanimously re-elected till i860. 
He guided the affairs of the Academy with wisdom, 
and the schools, exhibitions, and general affairs were 
successfully conducted during his energetic but con- 
servative administration. There were troubles, how- 
ever, which annoyed him. The Academy struggled 
with financial disasters, owing partly to business 
crises, partly to the distraction of free exhibitions, 
which diminished Its receipts. We had no permanent 
home, the antique casts were in a hired loft, and, in 
order to raise money for a new building and other 



40 

purposes by issuing bonds, the Academy had been 
obliged to place its property in the hands of trustees, 
of which Durand was one. 

Difficulties arose because of conflicting ideas be- 
tween the trustees and the Academy. Some urged 
the risking the expense of a fine building ; others 
argued for prudence, economy, and a plain house. 
Durand sympathized with the artists, and strove to 
reconcile the opponents, but he hated turmoil, and, 
to secure quiet for his studies, he talked of resigning 
the presidency. And, notwithstanding the earnest 
wishes of the members, he did so in i860. Some 
time before this, a circumstance occurred which fur- 
nished an occasion for the resignation he had contem- 
plated. Proposals had been made for a new building 
on Twenty-third Street. Plans were invited from a 
few architects, and a time fixed for their presentation 
for decision by the Council. On the evening of the 
appointed day the Council assembled. President 
Durand was in the chair. The designs of the com- 
peting architects were displayed, but only two were 
judged worthy of serious consideration. Of these 
one was by an architect then well-known for his prac- 
tical skill, but was thought too plain and common- 
place in its effect to the eye. The other was by 
Eidlitz, in the Paladian style, pleasing and appropri- 



41 

ate. Durand decidedly favored the latter. Most of 
us agreed with him, and after discussion we voted to 
accept it. This decision was not absolutely final, the 
consent of the trustees being necessary. We ad- 
journed, and President Durand went home. No 
sooner had he left, than the officer in charge of the 
designs said : " Gentlemen, there is another drawing, 
but as it came after the time fixed for receiving 
designs had passed, I have not thought it proper to 
place it in competition." We exclaimed against so 
much red tape, and asked to see it. It was brought 
out. It was a design by Wight, very much like our 
building as it now stands, but more beautiful and 
picturesque. We called for a re-organization. The 
vice-president took the chair ; we reconsidered the 
previous vote, and almost unanimously decided for 
Wight's design. 

Our excitement, and the vexation at the withhold- 
ing of the best design, betrayed us into this lawless 
disrespect to our honored president. As one of the 
culprits, I may say it was outrageous, and Durand was 
justly indignant. We apologized ; the whole body of 
academicians joined in a petition, but he never took 
the chair again. 

I must say that, though he was resolute in refusing 
to condone this unmannerly proceeding of ours in his 



42 

official capacity, he was personally as kind and friendly 
as ever to every one of us ; if possible, even more so. 
I believe he was glad to escape from the anxiety and 
responsibility of the presidency, and resume the even 
tenor of his studious life. 

I am confident he was happier, and grateful for an 
occurrence which furnished him with a good oppor- 
tunity of retiring. He wished to do so some time 
before, but felt bound to remain in the office on 
account of the large amount of money which his two 
friends, Jonathan Sturges and Chas. M. Leupp, had 
loaned to the Academy, in great measure out of per- 
sonal regard to him, and on bonds which Durand had 
signed as president, and for the payment of which he 
felt an honorable responsibility. This debt had been 
recently in great part cancelled or provided for. 

Durand was an original member of the Sketch 
Club, and seldom failed to attend its meetings. The 
easy informality of its society, the free interchange of 
ideas with cultivated men, artists, and amateurs, ren- 
dered it a source of pleasant recreation, as well as a 
time of improving and stimulating contact of wits. 

His friend, C. C. Ingham, was also a zealous 
member. Of Irish birth, a painter of highly finished 
portraits, a favorite with the ladies, who, if they were 
young and beautiful, were sure of not losing by his 



43 

pencil, and if they were fading, could rely on his 
restoring their withered bloom ; he was, withal, ex- 
citable, and even irascible. On a certain dilemma 
occurring in affairs at the Academy of Design, he 
indulged in some passionate words, and was rather 
vigorously reproved by the amiable president. To 
be calmly put down when red-hot with rage, was too 
much for the high-strung Ingham. He retorted furi- 
ously, but Durand smiled and said nothing. It was a 
good instance of his self-control. They did not speak 
to each other for many months. Jonathan Sturges 
was a sincere friend of both men. He was pained at 
this estrangement. He determined to reconcile them. 
At a meeting of the Sketch Club at his house, when 
all were gathered about the supper-table, the guests 
being in genial spirits (the champagne foaming), Mr. 
Sturges said : " Mr. Durand — Mr. Ingham, shake 
hands and be friends for my sake." Durand replied : 
" I shall be glad to do so," and gave his hand to 
Ingham, who shook it warmly, saying : '* It gives me 
great pleasure," and the two were ever after firm 
friends. " Blessed are the peace-makers, for they 
shall be called the children of God." 

In June, 1872, at the suggestion of Mr. Jervis 
McEntee, several of Durand's friends formed a sur- 
prise party to visit him at his house in South Orange. 



44 

Mr. McEntee, in a letter to John Durand, writes : 
" The Durand pic-nic came off Saturday, June 8th, 
and was a perfect success. It had rained in the 
morning, but cleared off before it was time for us to 
go ; but the woods were so wet that we had our table 
spread upon the wide veranda of the house, where we 
remained the whole day, and every one seemed to en- 
joy it to the utmost. Mr. Bryant came all the way 
from Roslyn in spite of the threatening weather. I 
was sure he would come if it were possible, and he 
seemed to enjoy the occasion exceedingly, and made 
a nice little address at the lunch-table." 

There were present at this party, as far as can be 
now remembered : Palmer, the sculptor, and Mrs. 
Palmer, who came from Albany for the occasion ; 
Mrs. Godwin, who came with her father, Mr. Bryant ; 
Mr. and Mrs. McEntee ; Eastman Johnson and wife ; 
Kensett, with a young lady from Philadelphia ; San- 
ford Gifford and his sister ; Whittredge and wife ; C. 
P. Cranch ; Geo. H. Hall ; Mr. and Mrs. Hicks ; Mr. 
and Mrs. David' Johnson ; Quincy Ward ; Falconer 
Vollmering ; Brevoort and Miss Bascom (now Mrs. 
Brevoort); Wm. Page and wife ; Wm. Hart and wife ; 
besides the families of Mr. Durand and of his son-in- 
law, Mr. Woodman, and others of their guests. 

Mr. McEntee says : " Mr. Durand acknowledged 



45 

the compliment in a speech, which showed how deeply 
he was touched by this remembrance of the artists. 
It was a most satisfactory day, and I shall always re- 
member with gratification that my suggestion was so 
heartily responded to, and that we were able to show 
in so fitting a way our veneration for the old man." 
Mr. McEntee adds : " Just before I left the city I re- 
ceived a letter from John Durand, in which he told me 
the affair had had the happiest effect upon his father. 
He had walked nearly over the Orange Mountain, and 
was in the best of spirits." It was the misfortune of 
the writer to lose the pleasure of this festival by 
illness. 

There are several portraits of Durand. One by 
Metcalf, as a young man ; the Trumbull portrait, 
with a portfolio in his hand ; a richly colored head by 
Jewett ; one painted by himself, in the possession of 
the Academy of Design ; another by Elliott, belong- 
ing to Mr. Walters, of Baltimore, engraved by Halpin; 
and the half-length by Huntington, painted for the 
Century Club. Rowse made an excellent crayon 
drawing. There is also the bust by H. K. Brown, 
presented by John Durand to the Academy of Design, 
and the Art Union issued a medal by Carl Muller, 
bearing on the obverse a profile to left of Durand, and 
on the reverse a palette with brushes and oak and 



46 

laurel leaves. One of these medals was deposited in 
the corner-stone of the National Academy of Design. 

Durand was endowed with certain traits which com- 
bined to form a great artist. He was early smitten 
with the love of 7iature, his native patience was 
strengthened by the severity of his early struggles, 
and to these was added an indomitable perseverance. 
His love of nature was a passion, an enthusiasm 
always burning within him, but it was like a steady 
fire, not a sudden blaze quickly sinking to ashes. His 
patience enabled him to guide this intense delight in 
beauty into paths of quiet, steady search for the result. 
It was touch after touch, line upon line, a gradual ap- 
proach to victory. Added to this was his untiring 
perseverance, which no difficulties could overcome, no 
obstacles affright, or even cold indifference discourage. 

Though full of nervous energy, alive to every 
beauty, keenly sensitive to criticism, and a severe 
critic on his own work, he was yet blessed with a cer- 
tain serenity of spirit which checked and soothed the 
restless fever of the creative brain ; a fever often so 
violent in the painter or the poet as to cause a deep 
and sometimes fatal reaction and depression. Durand 
formed a habit of working on and on cheerily till the 
coveted prize was gained. 

He maintained that a landscape painter in his early 



47 

studies should not only make careful copies of nature 
in the fields, but be trained by drawing the human 
figure, both from the antique and from the living 
model. Accuracy of eye, with facility and exactness, 
can rarely, if ever, be acquired without such practice. 
Such a training quickly asserts itself in the modelling 
of forms in mountain rock and forest, in cloud struc- 
ture, the lines of waves, etc. The forms of inanimate 
nature seldom demand absolute accuracy of drawing ; 
but in accessory figures, buildings, and animals, it is 
essential. Durand, though by his drilling as an en- 
graver of figures, and especially of portraits, was 
habitually true and exact, yet dwelt with great fond- 
ness on those qualities which depend on the processes 
and mysteries of the art, the rendering of subtle and 
infinitely varying effects of atmosphere, of fleeting 
clouds, of mist, sunshine, twilight obscurity, and the 
thousand wondrous phenomena which form the pe- 
culiar glory of landscape. 

He was twice married, and was happily surrounded 
by an affectionate family. His daughters delighted to 
wait upon his steps, to lighten his cares, to cheer his 
hours of fatigue and rest. His sons rose to manhood 
to do him honor. The whole fraternity of artists 
were proud of his achievements, reverenced his char- 
acter, and looked up to him with affection. In the 



48 

midst of the beautiful surroundings of his home, in a 
house standing on the spot where he was born, he 
tranquilly passed a serene old age, modestly wearing 
the laurels won by the faithful struggles of a noble 
and useful life ; and patiently submitting himself to 
the will of God, calmly awaited the summons which, 
on the 17th day of September, 1886, at the venerable 
age of ninety years, called him to the eternal life 
beyond. 



Renewed books .resubiectu. 







sss-jsu. 



University 



Berkeley 



IVI152376 

Da//3 

THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 



L