Monday, November 11, 2013

Thomas Moran at Guild Hall

Guild Hall's current exhibition "Tracing Moran's Romanticism and Symbolism" is on view through January 5, 2014. The show has a number of Moran paintings from the museum's permanent collection as well as pieces from private collections. Lest you think that because the paintings are from the permanent collection you can saunter in and view them at any time, Guild Hall's permanent collection spends most of it's time traveling. Photos of the paintings are courtesy of Guild Hall.
Above Tower Falls Yellowstone, 1917 
Oil on canvas 14 1/2" x 11 1/2"
Guild Hall Museum Permanent Collection
Gift of Ruth B. Moran
Moran was born in Bolton, England in 1837 and died in Santa Barbara, California in 1926. His life was filled with travel. Growing up near Philadelphia, he made his way to New York City with artistic journeys to Lake Superior, England, the Western United States and Europe. Moran traveled in 1871 with geologist F. V. Hayden, the famous surveyor of Yellowstone. Moran's watercolors as well as photographs by William Henry Jackson were the first images ever seen in the East and helped convince Congress to establish Yellowstone as the first national park in 1872.
Portrait of Thomas Moran, c1922
by Howard Russell Butler (1858-1934)
Oil on canvas 47" x 43"
Guild Hall Permanent Collection
I love this portrait by Howard Russell Butler of Moran at his easel working on a Yellowstone painting. Glasses and a lit cigar are on the easel's ledge. Small brush for detail work in his right hand, his pallete covered with vividly colored piles of paint. 
A Midsummer Day - East Hampton, L.I. 1903
Oil on canvas/board 13 1/2" x 19 1/2"
Guild Hall Museum Permanent Collection
"In Moran's era, gray tones in one area becoming blue in another were understood as messages suggesting that storms of life will pass, bringing brighter times ahead" - Phyllis Braff, curator
East Hampton Beach, 1894
Oil on canvas 16" x 20"
collection of Dennis M. and Anne P. Gingold
Thomas Moran and his wife Mary Nimmo, a noted etcher, built a home and studio at 229 Main Street in East Hampton in 1884.  "The Morans delighted in the area's antique rural charm, so reminiscent of their native Britain, which they captured in atmospheric oils and exquisite etchings. The Moran clan included no fewer than sixteen painters, printmakers and illustrators; whenever the family gathered at 'the Studio', East Hampton had an instant art colony." - from Hamptons Bohemia by H.A. Harrison and C.A. Denne
The Thomas Moran house around the turn of the 20th century
Courtesy of  East Hampton Library, Long Island Collection
The house was privately owned until the owners death in 2004 when it was donated to Guild Hall. The Thomas Moran Trust was created to restore and maintain the residence. See here for more photos of the renovation. The house is an easy walk from Guild Hall, across the street and down the block.
Main Street and the Moran House border Hook Pond.
Back in the day when no one bothered to travel light the Moran's brought back a gondola from one of their Venice trips.
Thomas Moran’s gondola on Hook Pond.
Photo courtesy of the Long Island Collection, East Hampton Public Library.
For further reading on Thomas Moran, click below

Just across the way from the Moran House is a small Inn that I hadn't noticed before.  
The Hedges Inn
So much more to learn about the Moran clan and discover about East Hampton!


  1. Thanks to Gail Gallagher, for a wonderful review of a beautiful, landmark exhibition at Guild Hall - Enjoy it next on Vered Gallery's much read Art-Blog. (For those 'tickled' by local history, Vered Gallery, often called the best 'Small Museum in the Hamptons', is now the oldest business in East Hampton-older even than Sam's Pizza ! Art in the Hampton's has never seen more attention - East Hampton in a matter of a few years has become the 'art capitol' of Long Island. And yes, a number of the Thomas Moran's in the present Guild Hall exhibition were acquired from Vered Gallery. ART TRIUMPHS. Janet Lehr, Vered Gallery


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