Feel Art Again: John Constable & Asher Durand

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In a similar vein as Tuesday's post, I've prepared for today a comparison of two great landscape artists: the British John Constable and the American Asher B. Durand. In 1826, Constable painted "The Cornfield;" 19 years later, Durand painted a similar work, "The Beeches." And so the comparison begins"¦

1. John Constable once wrote, "I should paint my own places best." Like Constable, Asher Durand also believed it was best to paint what one sees, writing that artists should "scrupulously accept whatever [nature] presents him"¦ never let him profane her sacredness by a willful departure from truth."

2. Although their works are similar, Constable and Durand experienced differing degrees of success. In 1825, at the age of 29, Durand was already well-established enough to found the New York Drawing Association. Constable, at the age of 52 that year, was only then being elected to the Royal Academy in England.

3. Three years after Constable's death, Durand visited England, where he saw Constable's work and appreciated his "truth to nature" in his landscapes. Upon returning home to America, he drew inspiration from Constable's works, leading to the birth of "The Beeches."

4. Both Constable and Durand dabbled in portraiture at and were relatively successful, though Constable found portraiture to be dull. While Constable only took up portraiture to make ends meet, Durand's career went the alternate route. Apparently, Durand switched to landscape painting from portraiture after a financial scare and some encouragement from Thomas Cole.

5. Constable died at age 60, supposedly from indigestion. Fifty years later, Durand passed away at the ripe-old-age of 90.

A large version of "Cornfield" is available here; A large, zoom-able version of "The Beeches" is available here.

'Feel Art Again' appears every Tuesday and Thursday.