St. Louis Mercantile Library
Thomas Moran, The Grand Canyon of Arizona
Thomas Moran (1837 - 1926), The Grand Canyon of
Collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University
of Missouri - St. Louis
|Thomas Moran can be considered the last of the early artist-explorers.
Moran was born in England but came to Philadelphia as a young boy with his
family. His early art training was as an apprentice to an engraver, but
he was soon working in the studio of his brother, Edward Moran, a noted
marine painter. The brothers traveled back to England to study the landscape
paintings of J. M. W. Turner.
Moran’s American travels began in 1860, and the subject matter
of the western landscape dominated the rest of his career. Moran traveled
extensively between 1871 and 1892, often with government survey and geological
teams, and the works he created influenced the formation of the nation’s
national parks. Although his paintings provided visual evidence of the
beauty and grandeur of the American West, Moran did not consider them
documentary. In his words:
"I place no value upon literal transcripts from Nature. My general
scope is not realistic; all my tendencies are toward idealization....Topography
in art is valueless."
Expand Your Horizons Artists
like Thomas Moran influenced the formation of our nation's national parks.
Click here to learn more about the
national parks movement.
Some explorers left
written descriptions of their exciting journeys. Click here
to read a selection from John Wesley Powell's exploration of the Colorado