George Henry Durrie (1820–1863)
Gathering Wood, c. 1859
Oil on canvas, 18 1/8 x 24 in.
Signed lower left: G.H. Durrie / N. Haven
Provenance: Douglas Blanchard, DeWitt, New York; Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts, 1972; private collection, 1972; by descent to a private collection, until 2015
Literature: Martha Young Hutson, George Henry Durrie (1820–1863), American Winter Landscapist: Renowned through Currier and Ives (Santa Barbara, California: Santa Barbara Museum of Art and American Art Review Press, 1977), 223, no. 192.
Related works: Gathering Wood, 1859, oil on canvas, 22 1/4 x 30 in. (Shelburne Museum, Vermont); Winter Landscape, Gathering Wood, 1859, oil on canvas, 28 x 34 1/4 in. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).
In this nostalgic scene, a woodsman and his family gather firewood which they stack on a wood sled to be pulled to their farmhouse situated on the banks of a small lake. A young boy stands by the sled with his hands in his pockets, while his father approaches with a large branch, and his mother makes her way toward the cabin with two branches she has gathered. Despite the isolated location, the overall mood is not one of hardship or struggle against the elements. Smoke rises from the chimney in the middle ground, and the family is dressed warmly. The woman’s red shawl provides a touch of color to the prevailing landscape hues of brown, black, white, and dark green.