Once you become aware of the art movement in which he was involved, you will immedately expect stunning, breathtaking scenes of the American landscape, and that is exactly what Moran delivers. Whilst a member of the famous Hudson River School, Moran certainly developed his own unique approach and should be considered as an independent artist in his own right. The artist's control of light and devotion to the natural surroundings around him was extraordinary. There was an undoubted influence of British landscape painter, JMW Turner, in his work, but he took these ideas and technical methods onto new levels with his own ingenuity. At last, America had a set of skilled landscape painters that could compete with Europeans for the first time. Indeed, Europe itself had only accepted landscape painting as a respectable genre during the time of Turner and Constable, paving the way for artists such as these to take full advantage. Followers of art in the present day will still find it odd that landscape art took so many centuries to be accepted as an art form that should be accepted and encouraged, as it just so popular today.
Artist Moran took direct inspiration from Turner, even travelling to England in order to study his original paintings up close. Both artists would produce considerable numbers of paintings in both oils and watercolours, with the latter being ideally portable for some of their respective journeys through the wilderness. Sketching was also a key element of their development process, but both are best known today for their breathtaking paintings. The use of light and colour and ensured that their respective styles are still enjoyed today, whilst some other landscape painters have found their work deemed unfashionable and out of date by some. The remote location of many spots captured by Moran has ensured that they have remained relatively unimpacted by humanity, meaning one can still visit these places today and not see any great difference with what the artist saw over a century ago. This makes his oeuvre accessible and oddly present, even though the Hudson River School appeared so many years ago.
The paintings below capture some of the highlights from Moran's career. There is an extraordinary handling of colour and light which, when combined with the beauty of the American landscape, provides an unforgettable series of images. Each one is detailed and carefully planned, the result of a series of study pieces before the artist would set about adding oils to the large canvases in his own studio. The landscape genre is immediately accessible, with most members of it avoiding any great symbolism or deeper meaning, prefering to simply enjoy the aesthetic beauty of their surroundings. This allowed art to become more suitable to a wider audience and it became acceptable for some to merely enjoy the simple beauty of paintings such as this. This is perhaps why the modern world views landscape art with perhaps more passion and enjoyment than any other genre.