Asher Brown Durand, an American painter and engraver, born at Jefferson, Morris co., N. J., Aug. 21, 1796. His art education commenced in the shop of his father, a skilful watchmaker, where he acquired some knowledge of the elementary processes of engraving. His first attempts at the production of prints were made with plates hammered out of copper coins, and with tools of his own construction, his models being the cards inserted in the cases of watches. In 1812 he was apprenticed to Peter Maverick, an engraver of New York, with whom after the expiration of his term in 1817 he entered into partnership. His engraving of Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence," which cost him three years' labor, brought him into general notice, and thenceforth for many years his graver was in constant demand. His "Musidora" and "Ariadne," the latter engraved from Vanderlyn's picture, are among the most creditable specimens of the art produced in this country. In 1835, having for the previous ten years been a regular contributor of portraits, small figure pieces, or landscapes in oil, to the exhibitions of the national academy of design, he finally abandoned engraving as a profession.
For several years he painted portraits, landscapes, and occasionally figure pieces, but subsequently gave his exclusive attention to landscape painting. His pictures are pleasing in color and tone, and those representing woodland scenes are conceived with poetic feeling, and present fine studies of trees and foliage. His collected works, many of which are of large dimensions, and some of which have been engraved, would convey an unusually correct idea of American scenery under many different aspects. In 1854 he painted a portrait of William C. Bryant, the engraving from which, published in 1858, received its finishing touches from his hand. Mr. Durand was for many years president of the national academy of design, succeeding Prof. Morse. - His son, JOHN Durand, conducted for several years a monthly publication called " The Crayon," devoted especially to the interests of the fine arts. He is also the translator of a number of Taine's works, including "Ideal in Art" (1868); "Italy : Koine and Naples" (1868); "Italy: Florence and Venice" (1869); " Philosophy of Art: Art in the Netherlands" (1870); and "Art in Greece" (1871).