A new exhibition of the work of Thomas Moran (1837 – 1926) has launched at the Denver Art Museum. Thomas Moran’s Yellowstone: A Project for the Nation opened in late September and will run until January 19, 2014.

Born in England, Moran grew up in Pennsylvania and became a nationalized American. He began to work in art while a teenager, eventually building a local reputation as a painter. In 1871, he was invited to travel with an expedition of the US Geological Survey to the Yellowstone region. It has been argued that his sketches of some 30 different locations in Yellowstone, combined with the photographs of William Henry Jackson, helped push Congress to protect the region with the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park for both the US and the world.  

Thomas Moran, The Castle Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin from The Yellowstone National Park, and the Mountain Regions of Portions of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Utah, 1876. Chromolithograph on paper (Image – Newberry.org)

To mark the US centennial in 1876, Moran published the portfolio work, The Yellowstone National Park and the Mountain Regions of Portions of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah. As the Denver exhibition notes, Moran helped to transmit some of the first images of the West to a mainstream audience and that 1876 portfolio was the first illustrated book about the West published in color. One of Moran’s early works to receive wide-spread public acclaim was The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (1872), which was subsequently purchased by the US government.

Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, 1872 oil on canvas (Image – Yellowstone.net)

Further information about the Denver Art Museum’s exhibition of Moran’s work can be found at this link: Thomas Moran @ Denver Art Museum.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)


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