The First Harvest in the Wilderness
Asher B. Durand
On View: American Identities: A New Look, American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Visions and Myths of a Nation, 1800–1890, 5th Floor
Asher B. Durand’s composition depicts an expanse of rugged terrain and forests under stormy skies. This 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.
Oil on canvas
31 5/8 x 48 1/16 in. (80.3 x 122 cm)
Frame: 43 1/2 x 59 1/2 x 4 3/4 in. (110.5 x 151.1 x 12.1 cm)
Signed lower center: "A B Durand, pt. / 1855"
Inscribed on boulder, lower right: "Graham"
Transferred from the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences to the Brooklyn Museum
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Asher B. Durand (American, 1796-1886). The First Harvest in the Wilderness, 1855. Oil on canvas, 31 5/8 x 48 1/16 in. (80.3 x 122 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Transferred from the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences to the Brooklyn Museum, 97.12
overall, 97.12_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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