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Nearing Camp: Evening on the Upper Colorado River

Thomas Moran
1882

This picture was painted by Thomas Moran after he had taken part in an American government expedition to document the American West. he created this work and several other versions of it from sketches he had made on his journey. Moran changed several elements of the original scene in order to create a more picturesque view. Not only are the colours very much brighter than in reality, but a whole town has been erased to create a more pleasing scene.

The painting was brought to Britain in 1882 by Moran and sold to a collector, in whose family it remained until the museum purchased it after a huge fund-raising campaign.

Thomas Moran was born in Bolton in 1837. His family were textile workers, living in the Deane Road area. Moran and his family emigrated to America in 1844, setting in Pennsylvania.

Moran famously took part in the Hayden Geological Survey in 1871. As a part of this survey, Moran and other artists and scientists were charged with documenting the unspoiled landscape of the American West. The astonishing images and data that were collected and produced by the group captured the public and politicians’ attention. Moran’s images in particular persuaded congress that teh beautiful Yellowstone area needed to be preserved and so Yellowstone National Park was created. After this, Moran adopted the signiture Thomas ‘Yellowstone’ Moran.

Some of Moran’s Yellowstone paintings still hang in the government buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington. Barack Obama currently has a small oil painting by Thomas Moran hanging in the Oval Office.

Bolton Museum has he largest collection of Moran’s outside America.