Annual Nationalism Exhibit

Thomas Moran: Artist of the New Era

Contribution to the Art World

Thomas Moran was part of the new wave of artists during the 1800's who focused mainly on the portrayal of American soil. They painted mostly landscapes made the United States look like a very open and tranquil country. Moran, while working along many others, focused more on the unsettled land that was newly acquired. Ranging from the Great Lakes to Yellowstone, Thomas Moran's nationalistic paintings inspired others during the age of Manifest Destiny. His colorful, light displays drew onlookers toward western territory to spread out and settle. His romantic style also moved men toward the Pacific by making it seem as though man and nature could coexist in peace where people were less thickly settled. His main contribution to the art world was through his practice of color and display, which was inspired by English painters, particularly Joseph Turner, he was able to bring his own particular style that separated him from other landscapers.

Personal Background

About Thomas Moran

In 1837 in Bolton, Lancashire, England, Moran was born to two handloomers. The rapid industrialization of the times caused his parents to be forced out of work and move their family to Kensington, Philadelphia. There, at sixteen, Moran apprenticed at a wood carving firm, where his began to draw and paint seriously. His western work began in 1860 when he first travelled to Lake Superior, where he painted landscapes that would inspire his other works. Later in 1871, he was assigned to Ferdinand Hayden's Geological Survey Expedition in what is now Yellowstone National Park. Along with his partner William Henry Jackson, a photographer, they documented luminous scenes that were instrumental in persuading Congress to set aside the land for a National Park. The duo became lasting partners during verious western expeditions before Moran travelled to Venice for a new scene to paint. In his old age, he moved permanently to the west in Santa Barbara, California, where he focused on painting the natives of the area. He later died in 1926 of natural causes.