2024 Coeur d’Alene Art Auction43 / 80  •  View Catalog  •   • 

Thomas Moran (1837 – 1926)
Monterey Coast (1920)
oil on canvas
30 × 40 inches
41 × 51 × 3.5 inches (framed)
signed and dated lower right

Monterey Coast will be included in Stephen Good and Phyllis Braff’s forthcoming Thomas Moran Catalogue Raisonné.

Moran historian Phyllis Braff writes,“In 1920, as he neared the end of a long career, Thomas Moran was turning enthusiastically towards reinterpreting his favorite themes and applying updated technical skills that derived from new tastes in art. He was now synthesizing and generalizing as he reconsidered scenic concepts such as Monterey Coast, one of the California motifs he regarded as particularly inspirational. Rather than specifically describing landscape details – a goal he believed necessary in his earlier work – he prioritized bringing poetic suggestion to shrubs, trees, rocks and rising land mass areas. Colors are softer and seem filled with their own inner illumination. Shadow hues are especially rich. He believed that a large format, as in Monterey Coast, was best suited to bring the viewer into physical engagement with these inventive, dramatic tonal qualities. Moran’s softening and blending of visual details became so accomplished that some settings could almost be interchangeable in terms of precise locale. Indeed, this painting has also been called Montauk at various times. Generating an emotional response rather than providing descriptive information became primary.

“To further his subjective goals, Moran created a visual and emotional experience by using his delicately modulated color symbolically: suggesting darkness, stormy conditions or danger with deep hues at the right side, and a calm, otherworldly serenity, or redemption with radiant, glowing hues at left. A warm, mystically alluring infinite distance is achieved through the intensity of tonal modulations. These echo in the soft clouds above. The powerful effect is a reminder of Moran’s success at creating distance through pigment modulation – one of the pillars of his reputation.

“While the intention here is to build generalized effects, the mixed shrub and oak vegetation is recognizable as being in character with the studio locale Moran now had in Santa Barbara, following several years working in Pasadena. A fairly set travel pattern defined this era: the artist painted in California through the winter, then visited the Grand Canyon in April, New York City in May, and resided in his East Hampton, Long Island studio during summer and early fall. He seems to have enjoyed his absorption in California topics, placing special focus on the potential resonance he saw in Monterey themes, which he addressed several times over the decade leading up to this powerful 1920 canvas. It serves as a vehicle summarizing his technical achievements and his thoughts about successfully communicating a mood.”

PROVENANCE
Ruth Moran, Santa Barbara, California
Yellowstone Lodge, Yellowstone Park, Wyoming
David Findlay Galleries, New York, New York
Private collection, Oklahoma, 1980
Present owners, by descent

Thomas Moran

1837 – 1926

Monterey Coast (1920)
oil on canvas
30 × 40 inches
41 × 51 × 3.5 inches (framed)
signed and dated lower right
$500,000 – 750,000
Condition ReportSurface is in excellent condition. Canvas is lined. Small spots of inpainting in trees along right side; in the foreground.

Important Notice: Statements of condition are provided as a service to potential bidders; such statements are educated opinions and should not be regarded as facts. The Coeur d’Alene Art Auction has no responsibility for any errors or omissions.