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Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Robert LaPrelle.

Green River, Wyoming

Artist: Thomas Moran (1837 - 1926)
Date: 1878
11 1/2 x 36 in. (29.2 x 91.4 cm)
Framed: 22 x 45 3/4 x 4 1/2 in. (55.9 x 116.2 x 11.4 cm)
Medium: Oil on panel
Credit Line: Promised Gift to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas
Signed: l.l.: TMoran 1878
Place Depicted:
On View
Label TextIn 1871, Moran traveled west as part of a federally funded scientific survey of Yellowstone and the Wyoming territory. The artist’s 1878 view of the Green River Valley is an idealized depiction. He carefully delineated the architectonic rock formations and their rich, multicolored striations, the result of erosion by wind and water over millions of years. The width-to-height ratio of the canvas, which is over three times as wide as it is high, gives a sense of the grand vertical scale of the buttes rising from the desert while reinforcing the idea of the vastness of the American West. However, Moran edited out the presence of settlers and commerce on the site by excluding the town of Green River and its Union Pacific Railway terminal. Instead, he looked backward to a time when Native Americans freely roamed the western landscape.