Moran, Thomas(English/American, 1837-1926)
Thomas Moran was born at Bolton in Lancashire, England in 1837, the son of a hand-loom weaver. His family, including brothers Edward and Peter, emigrated to the United States in 1844. He grew up in Philadelphia where he was apprenticed to a wood engraver, sketching designs on blocks. His older brother, Edward, who was an established landscape painter, provided Thomas with his first art lessons.
Moran worked initially with watercolor but soon turned to oil. He exhibited his first oil in 1858 and made his first sketching trip westward in 1860, to Lake Superior. He continued his studies with local artist, James Hamilton, but in 1861-62 he returned to England with his brother, Edward, where they fell under the influence of J.M.W. Turner while copying his works. Moran went to Europe again in 1866-67, meeting another influence, Corot, and making studies of Venice.
In 1871, Moran found the subject matter for the rest of his life when he made his first trip to the West with F.V. Hayden's Yellowstone surveying expedition. He was to work in Yosemite the following year where additional visual impressions became the backdrop for many of his future works.
Moran continued to travel almost every year to the most notable locations in Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Europe, and Mexico. He would return to his studio, successively in Philadelphia, Newark, Long Island, Pasadena (1916) and Santa Barbara (1922), to paint from the many sketches made during his travels. When Moran was just 36, he painted the “Grand Canyon of the Colorado” which Congress bought along with a Yellowstone painting for $10,000 each in 1873.
Moran's style is often likened to Turner and sometimes to Corot. His versatility and technical correctness enabled him to adopt the characteristics of many masters. A master of composition and pictorial effectiveness, his paintings are smooth and glossy to the point of resembling a mechanical print.
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