Lot 191
  • 191

Thomas Moran 1837-1926

bidding is closed


  • Thomas Moran
  • Monterey Coast
  • signed with the artist's monogrammed signature TMoran and dated 1912, l.l.
  • oil on canvas
  • 30 by 40 in.
  • (76.3 by 101.6 cm)


Duncan C. Dusenbury, Portville, New York (sold: Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, October 27, 1977, lot 139, illustrated in color)
Mr. and Mrs. George Arden (acquired at the above sale; sold: Christie's, New York, May 22, 1991, lot 131, illustrated in color)
Western Collection (acquired at the above sale; sold: Sotheby's, New York, December 1, 1999, illustrated in color)
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale

Catalogue Note

Monterey Coast is among the group of paintings of the California shore Thomas Moran completed during the winter of 1912.  Following his wife’s death in 1899, Moran began traveling to the Grand Canyon each year with his daughter Ruth, often continuing on to California for the winter months.  In 1916, Moran established a winter studio in Pasadena, moving permanently to Santa Barbara in 1922, where he remained until his death.  Though Moran is best known for his depictions of the untouched splendor of the Grand Canyon and other scenic sites, which would eventually become America’s National parks, his paintings of the California coastline are a testament to his remarkable vision as a landscape painter.

William Kloss writes of Point Lobos, Monterey, California, a similar painting also completed during the winter of 1912 (oil on canvas, 30 ¼  by 40 ½ inches, White House, Gift of the White House Historical Association, Washington, D.C.), “This striking painting typifies Moran’s late work.  Its calculated aesthetic effects are exaggerated, but they produce a vivid—almost visionary—sensation.  Instead of emphasizing the vast horizon of the Pacific Ocean at land’s end, Moran makes his true subject the dramatic interaction of the elements of earth, water and air.  The structure of the picture is rigorous.  Strong parallel diagonals of trees, storm cloud, and inlet are the dynamic spur to the scene, but they are modified and controlled by an implicit diagonal from the upper left to the lower right.  There is to some extent, a traditional theater proscenium structure, with darker foreground and wings framing a scenic backdrop.  But the heightened colors and suave brushwork mostly disguise that formula.

“Everything in the painting contributes to cohesion.  The brushwork, though economical, is never vague.  The agitated waves, the cusps of blue water and whitecap, are strongly tactile.  The deep blue and turquoise of ocean and inlet stun the eyes, in contrast to the nuanced chiaroscuro of the precisely drawn rocks and trees.  These dappled passages of light and shade, supremely elegant, lend the painting depth and surface order” (Art in the White House: A Nation’s Pride, Washington, D.C., 1992, p. 233).