George Henry Durrie was born on 6 June 1820, New Haven, Connecticut. His brother was also a painter. Between 1839 and 1842 he studied intermittently with the local artist Nathaniel Jocelyn and worked as coach, sign and portrait painter in Connecticut and New Jersey. In 1839 he began keeping an account book: a very important source of information about his early career. In 1843 he resettled permanently in New Haven, although he continued to travel as itinerant painter for several years. In 1845 he exhibited the painting Sleighing Party (unlocated) at the National Academy of Design, first of winter landscapes and genre scenes for which he became best known. In 1848 he sent his first paintings to the American Art-Union where, from then on he exhibited annually until its disbandment (1852). In 1853 he had two paintings of New Haven scenery lithographed by Sarony & Co. and made into postcards. In 1857 he opened a studio in New York City for one year. In 1861 he had two paintings published as lithographs by Currer & Ives, first of several reproductions by this firm. He died on 15 October 1863 in New Haven.
Elizabeth Garrity Ellis