Valley of the Catawissa in Autumn

Thomas Moran1862

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

In the spring of 1861, Thomas Moran and his three brothers went on a sketching and photography expedition to Catawissa, a small town on the Susquehanna River in the mountainous region of northeastern Pennsylvania. Thomas, who was also trained as an engraver, translated his sketches into illustrations for a travelogue that praised the Catawissa Railroad route as a picturesque touring itinerary. He also used his studies and, perhaps, his brother John's photographs, to develop subjects for oil paintings of the region.

One year later, Moran exhibited a work entitled Valley of the Catawissa in Autumn-a painting that was only recently rediscovered in a private collection in Northwest Arkansas. Taking artistic liberties, Moran omitted the railroad and translated the original spring scene into a splendid panorama of autumnal mountain wilderness. The painting demonstrates his early mastery of the American landscape tradition, characterized by topographical specificity infused with poetic vision.

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  • Title: Valley of the Catawissa in Autumn
  • Creator: Thomas Moran
  • Date Created: 1862
  • Physical Dimensions: 39 3/4 x 63 1/2 in. (101 x 161.3 cm)
  • Subject Keywords: landscape, autumn
  • Rights: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas., Photography by Steven Watson.
  • Medium: Oil on canvas


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