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The First Harvest in the Wilderness

Asher B. Durand's composition depicts an expanse of rugged terrain and forests under stormy skies. The American wilderness yields to progress as a lone farmer reaps his first harvest in a field, still dotted with the stumps of recently cleared trees and gleaming under a sudden shaft of light that penetrates the heavy clouds. A boulder resting by the side of the road identifies our glorified pioneer by name as "Graham." Using funds bequeathed by one of its founders, Augustus Graham, the Museum commissioned Durand to paint this work in 1855, thus officially establishing its collection of American art. Durand's dramatic landscape pays tribute to Graham's efforts as a cultural pioneer.

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