DURAND, Asher B. (1796-1886)
New York: Burton and Valentine, 1825. Engraving. Trimmed just outside or to the platemark. Sheet size: 17 x 12 3/8 inches.
Unrecorded proof of a seminal American engraving.
Asher Durand was hailed as "the most famous engraver in America" and "the father of American landscape painting". His bold clean style was an immediate success, and he consequently produced some of the most important engravings in American print history. "The most noted achievements of Mr. Durand's burin are his two plates of the nude -- Musidora, after his own design, published in 1825, and the Ariadne, after Vanderlyn's masterpiece, published a decade later -- in both of which the rendering of the flesh is particularly successful. There was not only a boldness in essaying such works at that time ... but there was a nobility of purpose, that carried the artist successfully through to their completion, that must win our admiration" (The Grolier Club).
"Musidora was Durand's first major effort in engraving from an original design. The theme was inspired by The Season's, a poem by the Scottish poet James Thomson ... In the 1825 engraving, the young Musidora moves cautiously to the bank of the woodland stream, and illustrates Thomson's lines, which are inscribed on the print ... John Durand called this work a product of his father's 'inner consciousness'..." (Hudson River Museum). The original drawing for the work is located at the New York Public Library.
This example a very fine, dark impression in an unrecorded proof state, i.e. before the date added to the end of Durand's imprint, prior to the printer's imprint below the quote from Thomson's Seasons and with the title lightly engraved.
The Grolier Club, Catalogue of the Engraved Work of Asher B. Durand (New York: 1895), 236; Stauffer 683; Hudson River Museum, Asher B. Durand: An Engraver's and a Farmer's Art (Yonkers: 1983) 27.