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Peter Moran

(1841 - 1914)
Peter Moran was the youngest of the prodigiously talented Moran brothers, which included John (a photographer), Edward (a painter of marine subjects) and, most famously, Thomas—one of the premiere American landscape artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Moran family emigrated to the United States from Bolton, England, when Peter was three years old. They settled in Philadelphia and Peter began his artistic training as an apprentice to a lithography firm. He studied with his brothers Edward and Thomas and developed great fluency as a draftsman, watercolorist, oil painter and etcher.

He accompanied Thomas on a trip to Wyoming in 1879 and in 1880 made his first trip to New Mexico. His return trip in 1881 is well documented and it is thought that he might have made further excursions in 1882 and perhaps later in the decade. Moran sketched and painted dozens of images on these excursions, traveling north from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and Taos and west to Zia and Zuni pueblos in the company of fellow artist Henry Rankin Poore and the photographer William Henry Jackson.

Returning to his Philadelphia studio Moran turned his sketches into etchings and oil paintings. The material that he gathered on these trips provided subject matter that he was to utilize for the rest of his life, making him the first artist to create an extended body of work depicting the far-flung territory.

The etching plates for a number of Peter and Thomas Moran’s prints survived the artists themselves and posthumous strikes of some of these images abound. Legitimate pencil signatures are proof that the print was struck as part of an authorized edition with the direct involvement of the artist.

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