Edward Moran (British-born, American, 1877)

A Clipper at Sunset

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A Clipper at Sunset, Edward Moran (British-born, American, 1877)

Edward Moran (1829 – 1901) was a British-born, American maritime painter, most known for his dramatic series of 13 historical paintings of United States marine history.

In 1844, after spending his early years in England, his family moved to the United States – first to Maryland and a year later to Philadelphia. Edward began to apprentice under the American-born artist, James Hamilton, who helped Moran refine his style of marine paintings. In the 1850s Moran began to develop a reputation in the Philadelphia art scene as a fine nautical painter. While working in the same studio as his younger brother, Thomas Moran, another famous American maritime painter, Edward received several commissions.

In 1862, he made the decision to get more training and traveled to London to become a student in the Royal Academy. After moving back to Philadelphia, he launched a successful exhibit, titled Land and Sea, which showed 75 of his landscape and marine paintings. These paintings were later illustrated in a catalogue by the same name, and Moran donated all the proceeds from the exhibit, the sale of the catalogue, and the sale of one of the paintings to help the survivors of the Franco-Prussian war.

In 1885, at the height of his career, Moran began on what would be considered his most important work — a series of 13 paintings representing the Marine History of the United States. He chose to have thirteen paintings in the series because of the significance of the number in American history (13 colonies and 13 stars and stripes on the original US flag). Not long after their completion, the series was displayed at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

Moran lived in New York City until his death in 1901. At the time of his death, Moran was considered to be one of the most important 19th century marine painters. His works hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C., to name just a few.

Today Edward Moran is not as well known as his younger brother, Thomas Moran, whose career he helped launch. His sons Edward Percy Moran (born 1862) and Leon Moran (born 1864), his other brother Peter Moran (born 1842), and his nephew Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, also became prominent American artists.

A Clipper at Sunset, Edward Moran, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1877, 33″ x 33.5″