High Point: Shandaken Mountains, 1853
Asher B. Durand (American, 1796–1886)
Oil on canvas; 32 3/4 x 48 in. (83.2 x 121.9 cm)
Bequest of Sarah Ann Ludlum, 1877 (77.3.1)
For an avid fisherman like Durand, the many trout streams in the southern Catskills west of Kingston, New York, were undoubtedly a huge attraction, as reflected by the busy and productive angler and his female companion in the right foreground of this scene. The artist produced several paintings of sites in this vicinity in the early 1850s, in some of which he introduced thunderstorms. In this mild prospect, however, the summit of High Point sends up a flourish of cloud that animates the scene but scarcely seems to threaten. If the character of the countryside did not elicit from Durand the elaborate sylvan foregrounds of his best pictures, his painstaking articulation of what he termed "mountain beauty," the balance of luminist and aerial modulation with the hills' forested texture, distinguishes this work.