Lot 123
  • 123

Thomas Moran

150,000 - 250,000 USD
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  • Thomas Moran
  • East Hampton
  • signed TMoran with artist's thumbprint and dated 1916 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 20 1/4 by 30 1/4 inches
  • (51.4 by 76.8 cm)


Ruth Moran (daughter of the artist)
Private Collection, Texas, 1928
Private Collection, California (by descent through the family of the above)
Spanierman gallery, New York
Questroyal Fine Art, New York, 2008
Private Collection, East Hampton, 2008 (acquired from the above)


East Hampton, New York, Guild Hall Museum, Tracing Moran's Romanticism & Symbolism, 2013-4


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes, Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This work is in lovely condition. The canvas is unlined. There is no weakness to the paint layer at all. There may be a few tiny spots of retouching in the darkest cloud on the left, but the condition is extremely good overall. The work should be hung as is.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

A great turning point in the career of Thomas Moran occurred during his trip to Europe in 1861. During this trip, Moran spent a sizeable amount of time at the National Gallery of Art in London, studying the works of J.M.W. Turner, as well as John Constable and Claude Lorrain. For Moran, Turner's dynamic, light-filled compositions, striking color effects, and distinctive handling of light provided immense inspiration. Moran’s colorful and highly atmospheric paintings that captured the beauty and grandeur of the West earned him a reputation as the "American Turner."

While on his first visit to East Hampton in 1878, Moran became infatuated with the landscape’s pastoral quality, which is reminiscent of the English countryside painted by Constable. After several years of travel to the West and Venice, Moran returned to East Hampton in 1884 and built a home and studio there. As he continued to travel regularly, East Hampton became his home-base and he frequently sketched and painted the surrounding area. Moran's reputation as a painter of rich, luminous effects is inextricably linked to the dramatic atmospheric conditions he included in his paintings. In contrast to the artist’s views of the West, his Long Island paintings are more bucolic in tone and often smaller in scale, but exude the same sense of atmosphere and space.

In East Hampton, Moran has portrayed a rim of dark clouds hovering over the horizon line, with rain still falling in the distance, below a blue sky which appears through sunlight infused clouds. In the undulating dunes and autumnal foliage, Moran reflects this alternation of light and shadow to exhibit the effects of the light filtering through the clouds and bring a spiritual dimension to the painting. The site has been identified by Phyllis Braff, coauthor of the Thomas Moran Catalogue Raisonné, as a view just to the west of the Maidstone Golf Club. Paintings such as East Hampton reveal why Moran played such a key role in the pictoralization of Long Island as noted by one of his biographers, “Moran never tired of pouring his feelings for eastern Long Island into scores of canvases. He devoted a greater number of paintings to the region than any other place, except . . . Venice and its environs. The wonder is that, in doing so, he repeated himself as little as he did. [1]”


[1] Thurman Wilkins, Thomas Moran: Artist of the Mountains, Norman, Oklahoma, 1988, p. 247