Thomas Moran was born in Bolton, Lancashire, England in 1837. His family came to the United States when he was seven; of the seven children, three of his brothers, Edward, John and Peter, became artists of renown. Edward, his older brother, shared a studio with him and served as his teacher.
In Philadelphia, Moran worked for a wood engraver, sketching designs on wood blocks for printing and experimenting, in various media in his spare time. By age 21, Thomas Moran's determination to become an artist was rewarded by his exhibition of an oil painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
In the 1850's, Moran was introduced to the work of J. M. W. Turner, the noted English landscape artist, by James Hamilton (known as "the American Turner") but Turner's full influence on Moran's work came after the European study trip, taken with his new wife, Mary Nimmo (who later became an etcher of note), and his brother, Edward, in 1862. Moran was greatly impressed with Turner, and French landscape painter, Claude Lorrain.
In 1871 Moran joined the Ferdinand V. Hayden Geological Survey Expedition to Yellowstone Territory and on seeing the magnificent grandeur of the area, his inspiration soared. In 1876, Louis Prang of Boston issued a portfolio of 15 large chromolithograph illustrations by Moran from a report of Hayden's Expedition. Moran lived in Newark, New Jersey in 1872, but New York City eventually became his base until later years. Well established by 1884, he was one of the first artists to build a summer home in East Hampton, a Long Island Resort. Figures were rarely included in his work, however, on a trip to New Mexico, he did paint Indians in their surroundings. Moran lived in Santa Barbara, CA from 1916 until his death in 1926.
The Thomas Gilcreast Institute
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Milwaukee Art Center Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Museum of Art