Cliffs of the Upper Colorado River, Wyoming Territory Thomas Moran Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Thomas Moran was an American painter and printmaker born in February 1837. He was a landscape painter who represented the American identity in such a unique way bringing out the natures beauty in such an authentic way.

He had the desire to explore the nature and this can be seen clearly through his work. He was also a pioneer and together with Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill and William Keith they are referred to belonging to the Rocky mountain school because of the western landscapes that they made.

In 1882 he created “cliffs of the upper Colorado river, Wyoming territory”. For those who cherish nature they will appreciate this art with how he uses his exquisite colorist talents to change our view about the nature. He knew from his first glimpse of the “green river” the other name of upper Colorado that this would be his ideal piece as he nostalgically presented its original look when the Indians first rode there. Due to human settlement the area was overcrowded by 1882 and its romantic scene was polluted. He decided to draw its original look with a small group of people on horseback. He presents the beautiful American wildness through this art and the scenic beauty of the upper Colorado River is vividly described. It has the following dimensions: 16 x 24 in. (40.5 x 61.0 cm.) using oil in canvas medium.

He began his artistic career at an early age as a teenager under the Philadelphia wood engraving firm scattergood and Telfer apprenticeship. He spent most of his free time on his watercolors drawings as he found engraving to be a bit tiring. He started drawing firm’s publication and it was by this time that he found books containing the work of J.M.W. Turner. He was well known for his work during the 1870s and 1880s and had so much influence on Moran’s work. He studied with James Hamilton who was a local painter before going to England to view Turner’s work in 1862.

In 1871 he was invited to an expedition to unknown Yellowstone area by Dr. Ferdinand Hayden at the request of American financier Jay Cooke. During this time in the wilderness he wrote daily journal and sketches about his experiences and together with William henry Jackson who was a survey member and a photographer, they inspired the creation of Yellowstone national park by the congress. The region had tremendous impact on his work that also lead to his first recognition as an artist. He was later invited by Elwood Mead and together with Jackson they went back to Yellowstone and his second experience made him realise that he had so much to talk about the area. He continued to paint many sceneries about the Native American later died in August 1926.