32¢ Thomas Moran
Four Centuries of American Art
Issue Date: August 27, 1998
City: Santa Clara, CA
Printed By: Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
Thomas Moran was born in 1837, the son of poor immigrant handweavers. After receiving some training as an engraver, Moran started an engraving business with his two brothers. Soon he realized that this career choice did not interest him like the lure of becoming an artist. With that dream in mind, Moran embarked on a brilliant career as a romantic landscape painter.
Moran was drawn to natural scenes of simple, picturesque beauty. Although self-taught, he had a way of capturing the attractiveness of the world around him. The basis for his most famous works would come from his ability to see nature, especially western scenery.
In 1871, Moran was approached by Dr. Ferdinand Hayden, director of the United States Geological Survey. He invited Moran on an expedition into the Yellowstone area of Wyoming, a region that was still very unfamiliar to white men. Moran, along with photographer William Henry Jackson, was asked to capture images of the Yellowstone area in hopes of creating a tourist destination and a profitable new railroad line.
Some of Moran’s scenes were too large for a sketch or a photo. Upon his return to New York he painted one such view, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, on an 8- by 14-foot canvas, from memory.