Long celebrated as the premier painter of Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, Thomas Moran produced a remarkably varied body of work during a career that spanned more than sixty years. Best known for his panoramic views of the American West, Moran demonstrated the breadth of his vision in equally accomplished paintings of the Pennsylvania countryside, the landscape of Long Island, industrial complexes in Mexico and America, views of Venice,Italy, and numerous seascapes.
During his extensive travels, Moran created hundreds of open-air color studies that recorded his immediate response to a landscape. Impressive in their own right, these watercolors often served as the basis for the large-scale oil paintings that brought him his greatest success. Extraordinarily adept at recognizing the "visual potential of newly discovered lands in the Far West," Moran offered Americans and Europeans their first look at several spectacular sites later preserved as national parks. Nearly a century after Moran completed the last of his great western landscapes, more than ninety of his finest watercolor and oil paintings, representing all phases of his career, were gathered from public and private collections.
From September 1997 through August 1998 these works were on
view in Washington, Tulsa, and Seattle. The traveling
exhibition has concluded its tour. Two of the largest paintings,
Moran's The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and The Chasm of the Colorado,are currently
on view in Washington at the Interior Museum in an installation commemorating the
anniversary of the founding of the Department of the Interior.