Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Thomas Moran: An Artist for All Time

While I don't know how I first heard of Thomas Moran, but I'm so excited to share the artist with you. First, a little background... Thomas Moran (1837-1926) began life in England, but at some early point in his youth, his family left for the New World.


After serving as apprentice in woodblock printing and finding it tedious, Moran established himself as a first-rate watercolor illustrator and colorist. While regarded as being part of the Hudson River Artists, Moran greatest influence was actually the paintings of J.M.W. Turner.


Moran's illustrations were so highly regarded that he rose to chief illustrator for a monthly literary magazine. It was his position and interest in the West that would eventually lead him all the way to California. 


His first big trip to the West was when he accompanied U.S. government surveyors to Yellowstone. It was there that Moran found so much inspiration for his oils, watercolors and prints. This exposure helped him gain the reputation of being a top landscape artist. It became very much in demand to own a "Moran" lithograph print.



It would be Moran's paintings, along with William Henry Jackson's photographs, that caused the public to insist that President Grant name Yellowstone as the first National Park.



Moran would continue to be awed by the vastness of the West including the Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Yosemite and the Colorado River - all of which he painted to memorialize their wild beauty.







In addition to his art in collections of major galleries, Mount Moran in the Grand Tetons is named in honor of him, oh, and one more small recognition... his painting is in on the right of a photo-op between Israeli President Peres and our President Obama at the White House. 

Thank you to the person who first introduced me to his art and to his role in creating the views that helped save these spectacular vistas for the generations.


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