The Catskills (painting)

The Catskills by Asher Brown Durand, an American engraver, portraitist, and landscape artist, was commissioned by William Thompson Walters in 1858.

The Catskills
Asher Brown Durand - The Catskills - Walters 37122.jpg
ArtistAsher Brown Durand
Mediumoil on canvas
Dimensions158.8 cm × 128.3 cm (62.5 in × 50.5 in)
LocationThe Walters Art Museum, Baltimore


Asher Brown Durand, known for his skill as an engraver and portraitist, left this career path in 1837 to pursue landscape painting. He was persuaded by his friend and fellow artist, Thomas Cole, who lived in the Catskill region. Durand, who resided in New York, corresponded with Cole and wrote in one of his letters, "now, if there be a man on earth whose location I envy... it is Thomas Cole".[1] During the summer months Durand would often go on expeditions in search of beauty and the Catskills were one of the areas he often explored.[2]

The Catskills, completed in 1859, reflects the Transcendental philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson. This style was consistent with the Hudson River School, to which Durand was a founding member.[3] It is also noted that after Durand's return from Europe in 1841, his landscapes reflect influence by the European painters Claude Lorrain and John Constable.[4]


In the foreground two large trees are presented, one a black birch and the other a sycamore. A stream falls over a cliff and then winds through the valley toward the sunny area in the distance. A squirrel crouching on a rock is the only sign of animate life, representing the loneliness of the scene.[5]

Off the WallEdit

Currently,[when?] The Catskills, is being featured in Off the Wall, an open-air exhibition on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. A reproduction of the painting, the original is part of The Walters Art Museum collection, will be on display at Meadowood Regional Park.[6] The National Gallery in London began the concept of bringing art out of doors in 2007 and the Detroit Institute of Art introduced the concept in the United States. The Off the Wall reproductions of the Walters' paintings are done on weather-resistant vinyl and include a description of the painting and a QR code for smartphones.[7]

Exhibition HistoryEdit

  • Romanticism in America. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1940.
  • Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
  • The American Artist as Painter and Draftsman. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2001.
  • Kindred Spirits: Asher B. Durand and the American Landscape. Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington; San Diego Museum Of Art, San Diego. 2007-2008.
  • 19th Century Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin. 2010-2011.[8]


  1. ^ Durand, J., The Life and Times of Asher B. Durand, Black Dome Press Corp, 2006, p. 140-141, ISBN 1883789508
  2. ^ Durand, J., The Life and Times of Asher B. Durand, Black Dome Press Corp, 2006, p. 184, ISBN 1883789508
  3. ^ "The Catskills".
  4. ^ Kornhauser, E. M., Hudson River School:Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Yale University Press, 2003, p. 105, ISBN 0300101163
  5. ^ Johnston, W.R., Nineteenth-Century Art: From Romanticism to Art Nouveau, The Walters Art Gallery, p. 52, ISBN 1857592433
  6. ^ "Off the Wall - an open-air exhibition". Archived from the original on 2012-11-19.
  7. ^ Smith, T., Walters Art Museum goes of the wall, The Baltimore Sun, September 11, 2012
  8. ^ "The Catskills".

External linksEdit