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About Thomas Moran - American Landscape Painter

Updated on December 28, 2014
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Katherine has researched and written about many American and Australian Artists - both past and present

Photo of Thomas Moran By Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896)
Photo of Thomas Moran By Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896) | Source

A Compendium about Thomas Moran (1837-1926)

Find out about the famous American landscape painter Thomas Moran

This compendium website shares information about the art of Thomas Moran - including

  • where you can see his work in museums, art galleries and exhibitions
  • websites where you can see his work online
  • books and articles about his artwork and
  • other resources for artists wanting to improve their knowledge about he worked

"I have always held that the grandest, most beautiful, or wonderful in nature, would, in capable hands, make the grandest, most beautiful, or wonderful pictures."

— Thomas Moran

The life of Thomas Moran - biographical information

Moran standing on a balcony, smoking a cigar. Inscription lower left: "Thomas Moran, 1912". Moran, Thomas, 1837-1926
Moran standing on a balcony, smoking a cigar. Inscription lower left: "Thomas Moran, 1912". Moran, Thomas, 1837-1926
  • Born: Bolton, England 1837
  • Raised: Philadelphia, USA
  • Died: Santa Barbara, California 1926

Bio Summary:

  • British born painter who is now thought of as one of the premier painters of the American landscape
  • a.k.a. "Father of the National Parks" and "the Dean of American Painters"
  • Hired by Scribners as an illustrator and then Chief Illustrator
  • participated in the Washburn-Doane expedition to Yellowstone in 1870
  • Moran's paintings of Yellowstone and their "wonderful coloring" convinced Congress to preseve Yellowstone for posterity - hence why he is regarded as the Father of the National Parks
  • President of the Salmagundi Club 1893-1896.

Artwork Summary:

  • Art Education: self-taught
  • Art Influences: JMW Turner
  • avid and meticulous sketcher - who filled sketchbooks from his travels within the USA and abroad
  • usually produced modest sized paintings
  • great colourist who sustained a good memory for colour
  • painted landscapes which satisfied the Romantic concept of what landscape art should look like
  • exaggerated the scale of the landscape and produced large paintings for the wealthy New York Art Collectors and their substantial mansions
  • Travelled extensively to produce landscape paintings of significance
  • "The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone" is the masterpiece Moran painted as a result of the expedition to Yellowstone. This was displayed for this first time on May 2, 1872, at the Clinton Hall

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, oil on canvas painting by Thomas Moran, 1904
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, oil on canvas painting by Thomas Moran, 1904 | Source
Thomas Moran
Thomas Moran

Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: National Gallery of Art; 1st edition (October 20, 1997)

 

Thomas Moran - published by the National Gallery of Art

The catalogue for an exhibition at

  • the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in 1997
  • Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa 1998 and
  • The Seattle Art Museum 1998.

Green River of Wyoming 1878 by Thomas Moran [Public domain],
Green River of Wyoming 1878 by Thomas Moran [Public domain], | Source

Thomas Moran: Yellowstone Man - Kindle Edition

More paintings like this one - in total there are 132 reproductions of the National Parks including:

  • Yosemite,
  • Yellowstone,
  • Grand Canyon, and
  • The Tetons

The Artwork of Thomas Moran - a review of his work by Poul Webb

The art blog Poul Webb Art Blog published a five part series of posts based on the chronology of artworks by Thomas Moran

The posts are almost entirely images of artwork. Most of which when clicked can be seen in a larger format. They illustrate what Moran was capable of producing in terms of sketches in the field.

Thomas Moran in Museums and Art Galleries - paintings of the American Landscape

Below you can find some of the examples of paintings by Thomas Moran in Museums and Art Galleries

O'Neil Butte, Grand Canyon, oil on canvas painting by Thomas Moran
O'Neil Butte, Grand Canyon, oil on canvas painting by Thomas Moran | Source

Exhibitions of artwork by Thomas Moran

Rather surprisingly, given his status in American History and the development of landscape art in North America, exhibitions of work by Thoms Moran seem to be few and far between.

The latest exhibition relates to his chromolithographs of Yellowstone - which are full-colored prints created through the process of using ink on specially prepared stones

Thomas Moran: The Field Sketches, 1856-1923

This is a biography of Thomas Moran which also contains colour and black and white illustrations of his life and travels

Thomas Moran: Artist of the Mountains
Thomas Moran: Artist of the Mountains

Hardcover: 464 pages

Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press;

Second Edition edition (April 15, 1998)

 

Thomas Moran: Artist of the Mountains

This second and revised edition of a biography of Thomas Moran takes a more in-depth look at primary documention. It also takes a chronological approach to covering his life and the subject matter he painted

Thomas Moran's West: Chromolithography, High Art, and Popular Taste
Thomas Moran's West: Chromolithography, High Art, and Popular Taste

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas (March 28, 2013)

Published for Joslyn Art Museum's Durham Center for Western Studies

by the University Press of Kansas

 

BOOK: Thomas Moran's West: Chromolithography, High Art, and Popular Taste

Rated: 5.0 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)

This book features 167 photographs, 50 in full color. Moran's chromolithographs of his paintings were the first color images of the Yellowstone National Park made available to a general public who could afford prints but not originals. This book considers this "giclee print" of its day and its place in the story of how technology has made art more accessible to the public.

Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape

Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape
Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape

Hardcover: 192 pagesPublisher: Bulfinch; 1ST edition (May 17, 2006)

 
Rainbow over the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone by Thomas Moran
Rainbow over the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone by Thomas Moran | Source

Thomas Moran in Online Galleries

There are a fair few websites that have a good selection of Thomas Moran paintings which can be browsed online

Comments and Suggestions - comments (but not spam) are welcome

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