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At the age of 34, Thomas Moran's career was taking a turn for the better. After reviewing his artworks, critics and lovers have attested that it’s not from his destination that inspiration for his great masterpiece, Green River Cliffs, Wyoming came to be, but from what met him on the way.
Moran, while headed to Yellowstone for a contractual obligation, couldn’t help but notice the magnificence that surrounded the whole of Wyoming. Green River, specifically, caught his eye. The rest, as they say, is history. The painting, Green River Cliffs, Wyoming was created by Moran to make it known to art lovers and the entire world that there was more to Wyoming than just the hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone; the unique cliffs and assured serenity of Green River.
With the railroad being laid across Wyoming, it was an indisputable fact that the place would soon be a bustling center. It seemed that the growing civilization and industrialization were nit in the closest way, appealing or satisfying to Moran, as compared to the calmness and untouched elements of nature in the times before their existence.
During the time of his visit to Wyoming, Green River was a small but developing town. The railroad was being introduced and so were social amenities. Thomas arrived in Green River in 1871. He completed Green River Cliffs, Wyoming almost a decade later, but with a colorful twist in style and nature. The setting of the painting is before civilization. Definitely, Moran wasn't present during the time he's illustrated. No piece of industrialization has been attached to the painting.
Green River Cliffs, Wyoming is part of a colorful series of ‘oil on canvas’ paintings that Moran accomplished in uniqueness. At a glance, it’s only the cliffs and bright edges illustrating them that are visible. In detail, the artistry’s intent is noticeable. Convoys of riders on horses become clearer. There is no railroad. It’s just the small forests and the horsemen heading farther away. The mood is generally calm. Moran was skillful in giving the scenery a breathtaking composition.
Of all the paintings he’s designed, Green River Cliffs Wyoming boasts of being the pedestal that pivoted Thomas to international recognition. Moran worked with F.V. Hayden to make the project on Yellowstone a success. He sourced his inspiration from the works of J.M.W. Turner. Other masterpieces done by Moran include Sunset, Amagansett, and Palisade Canon. He’s inspired Edward Curtis, who designed the piece Sunset on Puget Sound in 1898.