About This Artwork
About Thomas Moran
Yellowstone National Park exists today much to the credit of American landscape painter Thomas Moran, whose 1870s renderings of its geysers, waterfalls, and hot springs helped convince Congress to create the United States' first national park. In his usual fashion, Moran had loosely sketched and painted field studies of the environment, which he translated in his studio to structured watercolors. Known best for these wilderness studies, Moran belonged to both the Hudson River and the Rocky Mountain Schools, who defined the 19th-century imagery of the American landscape. Moran's initial instruction came after disinterest in a wood-engraving internship in Philadelphia led him to study watercolor from local painters, which he practiced by sketching in forests surrounding the city. Later, Moran traveled to England to study the work of J.M.W. Turner, whose British landscapes would be a major influence.