1820 (Hartford, Connecticut)
1863 (New Haven, Connecticut)
Self portrait - George Henry Durrie - Self Portrait
Often Known For
snowscene painter-animal, portrait, genre
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|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born in Hartford, Connecticut, George Durrie was known as the "snowman"
because of the many winter scenes he painted. He lived most of
his life in New Haven and earned a reputation for rural landscape
scenes, especially snow scenes, which he introduced as subject matter
in American painting. His paintings "provide an excellent record
of rural life in the mid-nineteenth century . . . and his carefully
recorded details of nature and foliage added authenticity to his
depictions." (Reed 15). |
He began the study of art in New Haven
in 1839 with portraitist Nathaniel Jocelyn, and traveled about the
Connecticut and New Jersey countryside filling commissions. He
also painted still lifes, genre, and scenes from Shakespeare.
is credited with making the discovery that farm landscape scenes are
more appealing when they appear to be covered with snow, hence the
introduction of the "snowscene" into American painting. His
paintings emphasized bleak, snowy wintry scenes of New England.
the same time, he was creating snowscenes in the 1860s, Currier and
Ives were marketing hand-colored lithographs, and his landscapes
matched their formula for pleasant, quiet country motifs. These
works brought both him and Currier and Ives much success, and after his
death in 1863, they continued to use his paintings for lithographs.
Among his most popular prints were Cider Making, Winter in the Country, Getting Ice and Winter Morning.
Many viewers found his paintings comforting but others found them unimaginative and cloyingly nostalgic.
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Walt Reed, The Illustrator in America 1860-2000
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