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 Peter Moran  (1841 - 1914)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: animal, landscape and genre painting, lithography

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Ad Code: 3
Peter Moran
from Auction House Records.
A Stampede-Pueblo of Jemez
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter of landscapes, especially scenes with cattle, and etcher, Peter Moran was was the youngest member of the well-known family of American artists to venture from Philadelphia to the American West. His brothers were painters Edward Moran and Thomas Moran.

He was born in Bolton, Lancashire, England, and spent most of his professional life in Philadelphia where he had a studio with his wife, Emily Kelley, painter and etcher. Acting and painting scenery for the theater became a major interest.

His early career was marked by extensive work on animal studies and landscapes of the Pennsylvania countryside as well as a career in lithography. He studied with his brothers Thomas and Edward Moran and was also influenced by Rosa Bonheur and Constant Troyan.

From 1864, he made many trips West where he recorded remarkable sights including ethnological studies of Indian culture. His main interest was New Mexico, but he also traveled in Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. In 1879, he accompanied his brother Thomas on a trip to the Grand Tetons, and in 1881, he traveled to Indian pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona with Captain Bourke.

Michael David Zellmann, "300 Years of American Art"

Biography from William R Talbot Fine Art:
The younger brother of Thomas Moran, Peter Moran was a painter-etcher best known for his Romantic sensibility and landscape compositions incorporating animals. The Moran family immigrated to the United States from England in 1844, when Peter was three. He began his artistic career as an apprentice to a lithographic firm and eventually studied painting with his brothers Edward and Thomas. He was influenced by the animal paintings of Rosa Bonheur and Constant Troyon and visited England in 1863 to see those of Edwin Landseer.

Moran took up etching in 1874, using that medium to record genre scenes that he observed while traveling in New Mexico and Arizona in 1881 on an ethnographic expedition to study Pueblo Indian culture. He later returned to the Southwest in 1890 as an artist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In 1882, Moran joined Henry R. Poore, an artist friend, on a visit to Taos Pueblo where the two were given a room and spent a week watching the activities associated with the harvest. Poore recounted the details of their travels in an article titled “A Harvest with the Taos Indians,” published in 1883.

Peter Moran appears to have been the first American artist to make etchings of New Mexico subjects. Moran eventually gained a reputation in his day of “having been the first among the artists to recognize the picturesque qualities of the scenery of the southwest,” according to a book published in 1883, and of capitalizing on “all the glaring sunlight, all the romance of wild life,” in the “tablelands and in the cañons of New Mexico.”

Ref: Clinton Adams, Printmaking in New Mexico, 1880–1990, p.3, pl. 2; Robert R. White, The Southwestern Etchings of Peter Moran: A History and Catalog, Imprint (Spring 1994), pp. 11–28, cat. no. 13 (fig. 19).

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, IV:
Peter, the youngest of the four Moran brothers, was brought to the US at 3. He graduated from Harrison Grammar School in Philadelphia in 1857 and was apprenticed to Herline and Hersel, lithographic printers. He soon became the pupil of his brothers Edward and Thomas in their Philadelphia studio. Peter’s interest was in animal subjects rather than marines or landscapes like his more famous brothers. He copied Rosa Bonheur and Van Mercke. In 1863, he returned to England to become the pupil of Landseer but left after seeing Landseer’s work. He maintained his studio in Philadelphia for the rest of his life, making “his mark as a competent and prolific etcher.” In addition to his art, he was said to have been involved in the theater as a scene painter and bit player.

While Thomas Moran made his first trip West in 1871, Peter Moran had already been in New Mexico in 1864. Peter accompanied Thomas on a trip to the Tetons in 1879, taking Union Pacific west to Donner Pass, then traveling south and east to the Teton River. Peter was also with Capt Bourke on the ethnographic trip to Indian pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona in 1881, as mentioned in “The Snake-Dance of the Moquis of Arizona.” In 1890, Peter Moran (along with Julian Scott, Gilbert Gaul, Walter Shirlaw, and Henry R. Poore) was a special agent for the government to take the census among the Indians. The report “Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed” included three illustrations by Peter Moran on the Shoshone Agency in Wyoming, published “just at the time the frontier in American history had ceased to exist.”

Resource: SAMUELS’ Encyclopedia of ARTISTS of THE AMERICAN WEST,
Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985, Castle Publishing

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Peter Moran is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
Western Painters

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