Artist Spotlight: George Henry Durrie

Rounding off our December Artist Spotlight, George Henry Durrie became well-known for his rural winter snow scenes having his work currently showcased in a variety of museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the White House in Washington D.C. His romantic snowscapes captured the nation’s attention, and while it may be cold and there doesn’t seem to be anything beautiful or romantic about the winter Durrie made you see it.

Born in Connecticut in 1820, George Henry Durrie was one of 6 children and his father, John Durrie, was a partner in a printing firm in New Haven. George started his career as an artist working mainly on portraits. He accepted many commissions, making that is primary source of income. While travelling the railroad for work Durrie would create “fancy pieces” of still lives or stage actors, often creating them on the backs of window shades. When photography started cutting into Durrie’s portrait commissions he began painting landscapes and was completely self-taught as a landscape artist. His reputation grew and he became most well-known for his snowscapes. Though his pieces did not earn him much fame at the initial time of their production, Durrie’s works started becoming popular after they were reproduced as lithographic prints. 

The winter is a hard time for a large number of people – the lack of sunshine, often times people are socially isolated, it’s understandable how people could get depressed during this season. But I would encourage you to shift your perspective and see the beauty in the snow, much like George Durrie did. I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year!

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