Born in New Jersey, Asher Brown Durand began his artistic career as the apprentice to a silversmith and watchmaker. In 1825 he helped establish what would later become the National Academy of Design. Durand began painting more actively, and he went on to befriend Thomas Cole. Durand and Cole became sketching companions, exploring New England and the Adirondacks on various sketching trips. He actively promoted painting outdoors and learning from a direct study of nature.