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Label, Newhouse Gallery, New York, NY
Label, Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, NY

Describing this painting, Phyllis Braff, co-editor of the Thomas Moran Catalogue Raisonné wrote, “As the setting for the first sketch made during his 1871 inaugural journey to experience the characteristics of the storied American West, the Green River site long held a special resonance for Thomas Moran. He re-engaged with his impressions during an 1879 visit, which could be regarded as direct reinforcement for planning this painting, Green River, Wyoming. A number of the artist’s sketches of the dominant butte date from this second visit. Most are now in the Gilcrease Collection, Tulsa, but individual sheets are also in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis and the Thomas Moran Collection at the East Hampton Library, Long Island.

“The locale’s visual power contributed to the artist’s decision to undertake a number of Green River interpretations over the years. While each differs in tonality, mood, and compositional details, the orientation depicted here is one that is often considered to be outstanding because of its strong impact. The tall, steep-sided, towering rock butte serves as a dynamic focal point while at the same time emphasizing the forces of geology and the drama of the red crown.

“In the early 1880s, when Green River, Wyoming was executed, Moran was just entering the most painterly creative phase of his career, traveling less and concentrating on the studio work that permitted him to explore expanded possibilities for pigment and brushwork. This led to particularly stunning golden atmospheric effects in Green River, Wyoming, where layers of soft paint strokes in warm, sun-drenched yellow, orange and red-orange tones build and define both the distant sky and the foreground river. By merging the optical sensation of far away stone peaks with nearby ephemeral reflections through color and technique, Moran unifies the entire surface. It is a pleasing effect and an achievement considered quite modern.”

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