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Early Morning at Cold Spring

Artist: Asher Durand
Created: 1850
Dimensions (cm): 121.9 x 152.4
Format: Oil on canvas
Location: Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey

When Asher Durand painted ‘Early Morning at Cold Spring’ in 1850, he created a breath-taking scene of the small village of Cold Spring, which was established in 1846 along the Hudson River in upstate New York. Durand, whose art work helped in defining the Hudson River School, often frequented Cold Spring for its quaintness and for a peaceful escape from the city. Most of Durand’s paintings are of rocks, trees and foliage, as he always felt that nature was the purest and most sacred manifestation of God. ‘Early Morning at Cold Spring’ depicts old, magnificent trees against a golden sky at sunrise, their leaves magically illuminated by the rays of the sun. The ripples in the waters of the portrayed Hudson River are incredibly realistic, as are the hazy clouds. The stillness of the painting is partly due to the peacefulness of the river. Durand skilfully mastered the colors and contours of the landscape as perfectly as a photograph; the warm light and beauty of the scene takes the viewer to a serene part of Asher Durand’s imagination. Attention is drawn to the man standing by the tree, who seems to be soaking in the tranquility of the morning.

Analysis and Reviews

“Durand's annual summer sketching trips in the Catskill, Adirondack, and White mountains yielded hundreds of drawings and oil sketches that he later incorporated into finished academy pieces. These are the embodiment of his Hudson River School style. With the death of Cole, in 1848, Durand was recognized as the leader of American landscape painting.” - From “American Paradise: The World of the Hudson River School”

In 2007, the Brooklyn Museum showed almost 60 pieces of Asher Durand’s work in what was the first monographic exhibition devoted to Durand in more than 35 years. ‘Early Morning at Cold Spring’ is currently located at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, New Jersey.


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