Thomas Moran Biography | Oil Paintings

2-12-1837 Bolton, ENG – 8-25-1926 Santa Barbara, California USA

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Moran, Thomas

Thomas Moran began his artistic career as a young teenager apprenticed to a Philadelphia wood-engraving firm. Moran found the engraving process tedious and repetitive and his free time was spent working on his watercolors paintings. He began studying with local painter James Hamilton, the same painter who had instructed his older brother, the seascape artist Edward Moran. Hamilton introduced him to the work of British artist J. M. W. Turner. Moran traveled to England in 1862 to see Turner's work in person and he often acknowledged Turner's influence on his use of color and choice of subjects for his landscapes.

Thomas Moran was married to Scottish born Mary Nimmo Moran, an etcher, and landscape painter. The couple had two daughters and a son. His brothers Edward, John, and Peter, as well as his nephews Edward Percy Moran and Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, were also artists.

Thomas Moran's vision of the Western landscape was critical to the creation of Yellowstone National Park. In 1871 Dr. Ferdinand Hayden, director of the United States Geological Survey, invited Moran, to join his expedition team into the unknown Yellowstone region. During forty days in the wilderness area, Moran sketched over 30 different sites and in addition to a daily diary of the expedition's progress and activities. His sketches, together with photographs by William Henry Jackson, captured the nation's attention and helped inspire Congress to establish the Yellowstone region as the first national park in 1872. In 1882, after returning from a trip to Europe, Thomas Moran embarked upon another journey, this time to Mexico, which would result in a new inspirational subject for his oil paintings.

His first national recognition as an artist, as well as his first large financial success, resulted from his connection with Yellowstone. He even adopted a new signature: T-Y-M, Thomas "Yellowstone" Moran. Just one year after his introduction to the area, Thomas Moran captured the imagination of the American public with his first enormous painting of a far-western natural wonder, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which the government purchased in 1872 for $10,000 (equivalent to $190,000 today).

Thomas Moran along with Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, and William Keith are sometimes referred to as belonging to the Rocky Mountain School of landscape painters because of all of the Western landscapes made by this group in that area.

Art Movement: Hudson River School.
Artists Influencing Thomas Moran: J.M.W.Turner, James Hamilton.
He Traveled To England, Mexico, Scotland, Italy.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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