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    Thomas Moran (American, 1837-1926)
    A Mountain of Loadstone-Arabian Nights, 1898
    Oil on canvas
    20 x 30 inches (50.8 x 76.2 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left: Thomas Moran 1898.

    Property from a Palm Beach Estate

    The artist;
    Mr. Humphreys, 1899;
    American Art Association, 1917;
    McDonough, 1917;
    John Levy Galleries, New York, 1917;
    Thomas D. Murphy Co., Red Oak, Iowa, 1917;
    J.H. McBirney, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1922;
    Private collection, Colorado, by 1981;
    Spanierman Gallery, New York, by 1987;
    Sotheby's, New York, December 1, 1988, lot 27;
    E.R. Handy;
    Private collection, Palm Beach, Florida, acquired from the above;
    Estate from the above.

    Early in his career, Thomas Moran steeped himself in British mezzotint engraving and even completed a brief apprenticeship at the Philadelphia engraving firm of Scattergood and Telfer. Mostly self-taught, Moran vigorously studied both Claude Lorrain's Liber Veritatis and J.M.W. Turner's Liber Studiorum, the latter of which he acquired by trade for some of his own watercolors. These formative pictorial series would long resonate with Moran's work and in 1861, after several years of studying Turner's work in reproduction, the artist finally was able to see Turner's works in the flesh.

    Moran steamed across the Atlantic to London where he spent several months studying and copying Turner's work at the National Gallery. He later relayed to his family he was "stunned by the radiance" of color in Turner's works, "which he had not imagined but which he, himself, found literally glowing in the Yellowstone country, later on in his life." (R. Moran, American Magazine of Art 17 [Dec. 1926], p. 645) Moran replications of Turner's work were so impressive, it is believed that the director of the National Gallery took notice and provided Moran with a private room in which to work. This firsthand experience and intimacy with Turner led to a vital and lifelong influence upon the artist's work. Color and light replaced shading and gray-scale and Moran's work from that point onward began to "...manifest a distinctly Turneresque sensibility." ( Sublime: The Prints of J. M. W. Turner and Thomas Moran, October 17, 2014-February 15, 2015, New York Public Library, New York) Although thoroughly familiar with Turner's black and white engravings, he copied several of Turner's oils and watercolors in order to master these artistic techniques.

    In the present work, Turner's influence on Moran is evident and profound. A primal, choppy sea and moody sunset would almost overwhelm the viewer if not for a sparkling-white mountain peak in the distance, dappled with pink and blue hues from the sun's reflection, both hallmarks of Moran's Western works. By masterfully alternating areas of tight painting with looser brushwork to suggest the ocean's changeable atmosphere, Moran leads the viewer from sea to shore and out of the storm, in a thoroughly modern manner. Indeed, A Mountain of Loadstone-Arabian Nights pays homage to nature in a way that is quintessential Moran, perfectly encapsulating the interplay between the elements, as well as the awe and wonder the natural world evokes.

    In his journal, Moran lists this painting as "The Mt of Loadstone from Sinbad the Sailor," describes it as "Fierce Sunset on Coast," and notes that it sold to Mr. Humphreys for 400ºº at the spring Academy in 1899.

    This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work being prepared by Stephen L. Good, Phyllis Braff, and Melissa Webster Speidel.

    More information about Thomas Moran, also known as Moran, Thomas, Thomas Moran.

    Condition Report*: Glue lined canvas. Under UV exam, there does appear be be a few areas of inpaint including: Two, 1 1/2 inch vertical lines of inpaint along the extreme center right edge; 1 x 1 inch spot of inpaint approx. 4 inches down from upper center edge; 3 1/2 inch line of inpaint that extending into the signature affecting the M and A to Moran; Small scattered dots and dashes of inpaint addressing a few craquelure lines and along the extreme edges. Faint stretcher bar lines visible. Craquelure throughout.
    *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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    7th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,321

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