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    Description

    Thomas Moran (American, 1837-1926)
    Venice, 1887
    Oil on canvas
    12 x 22 inches (30.5 x 55.9 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left: TMoran 1887

    PROPERTY FROM A MIDWESTERN INSTITUTION

    PROVENANCE:
    Virginia H.C. (Mrs. August) Heckscher, New York;
    Estate of the above;
    Parke-Bernet, New York, 1942, lot 44;
    Private collection.

    Regarded as one of the foremost American artists of the nineteenth century, Thomas Moran is best known for his magnificent views of the American West, in particular his detailed depictions of Yellowstone that played a major role in convincing Congress to make the region a national park in 1872. Though the artist spent a great deal of time painting the American frontier, it is his dreamy, jewel-toned depictions of Venice that perhaps best epitomize his intent to imaginatively capture the romantic, picturesque beauty and the unique sensory experience of a locale, rather than depicting reality in topographically accurate detail. As stated by the artist, "All my tendencies are toward idealization. A place as a place has no value in itself for the artist." (Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, p. 333). Indeed, as seen in the present work, Thomas Moran's ability to convey the scenic splendor of the Venice canal in a unique, poetic manner was what would lead to the widespread popularity of his views of the Italian city.

    Thomas Moran first visited Venice in May of 1886. While there, he produced a number of sketches which he would later develop into oil paintings in his studio. The following spring, he exhibited two views of Venice at the National Academy, and thereafter he submitted a Venetian painting to the exhibition nearly every year he participated. The canal was a favorite theme of Moran's, and the subject of Venice quickly became his "best seller." Moran would visit Venice again in 1890, this time returning to New York with a large gondola that he kept on a pond near his summer residence in East Hampton, and which served as a model for many of his Venetian paintings to come.

    Works of art and travel literature with Venice as their subject were in abundance and at the height of vogue during the latter part of the nineteenth century, perhaps owing to the exotic, otherworldly concept of a city floating on water. Moran's depictions of the colorful gondolas and fishing boats of Venice fed an American nostalgia for a pre-industrialized past, and served as a counterpoint to a rapidly changing society, which was pressing full speed ahead into a new age.

    As exemplified in the present work, Moran, like J.M. Turner, took advantage of the mirror-like effects of architecture and fishing vessels reflected on the surface of the water, creating interplay of bright colors and dazzling effects. In this composition, a dreamy, jewel-toned palette and sweeping brushstrokes enhance the ethereal quality of the scene, transporting the viewer to the idyllic world of Moran's travel recollections.

    This painting will be included in Stephen L. Good and Phyllis Braff's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's works.






    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas; there appears to be couplepinholes along upper edge; a few areas of extremely faint craquelure, otherwise, the surface seems very stable; under UV exam, there appears to be one tiny dot of inpainting in roof of white building; framed under glass.  Framed Dimensions 16.5 X 27 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2016
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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