(Posted April 10, 2001)

An impressive array of 19th century watercolors, paintings and etchings by members of the Moran family, one of the most prolific families of artists in American history, will be on display at the Juniata College Museum of Art April 20 through September 15

There is an opening reception at the museum from 7 to 8:30 p.m., April 20. The reception and continuing exhibition is free and open to the public. An exhibition catalog will be available for sale, and free posters will be distributed at the reception.

The exhibition features works from the extended family of Thomas Moran, an adventurous painter whose scenes of the American West, specifically views of what is now Yellowstone National Park, ignited interest in westward expansion. Moran's western scenes are included in this show, as well as many views of eastern locales such as central Pennsylvania and East Hampton, N.Y.

The exhibit is gleaned from Juniata's Worth B. Stottlemyer Collection, a 400-piece collection that includes 17th through 20th century European and American paintings, prints, drawings and portrait miniatures.

The show also reveals previously unknown watercolors by Thomas Moran and his wife, Mary Nimmo Moran, as well as etchings from both artists. The exhibition highlights the work of other Moran family members, including Thomas Moran's brothers, Edward and Peter, as well as Edward's son, Leon. Their paintings include landscapes, seascapes, portraits and genre scenes.

Many of the scenes on display are of terrain around East Hampton, Long Island where the Morans and other artists such as Winslow Homer captured scenes of local fishing villages and open fields.

"Expansion of the railroad to Long Island in the 1840s opened up that area for vacationers and artists seeking undisturbed scenery," says Nancy Siegel, curator of the museum. "Thomas and Mary Moran made their home in East Hampton and the countryside gave them extensive visual inspiration."

Many of the works from Thomas and Mary Nimmo Moran are etchings, an artistic medium that experienced a revival of interest in the 1870s, aided in part by the Moran family.

The works of Thomas Moran in the exhibit are mainly landscape scenes from New York and Pennsylvania. In 1864, Thomas Moran, a self-taught artist, and his brother John, a photographer, traveled westward to view the rugged country of the Allegheny Mountains. On this trip, Moran made at least 30 sketches around Huntingdon, Gallitzin, and Spruce Creek. He worked from photographs taken by his brother, a method he continued to use (with other photographers) on his western trips.

In 1871, Thomas Moran was a guest artist on a geological survey trip to the Yellowstone area. At that time, Yellowstone had been little described, and the scenery had been viewed by very few non-Native Americans. His most famous painting, "The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone," was painted from this trip and was subsequently bought by the U.S. Congress for $10,000 in 1872. His early images of the then-unknown western landscape created a sensation in the population centers of the East Coast. He later traveled to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, producing large-scale paintings of the West showing realistic images of locales that remained unseen by most of the country's population. Several images and studies from these trips are included in the exhibit.

Mary Nimmo Moran was a student of Thomas Moran who married her teacher in 1862. Mary continued her art career during their marriage, but concentrated her talents on creating art from imagery close to the family's homes as her husband traveled on his western trips.

Mary Moran sketched outdoors, directly onto her etching plates and her work was accepted into several male-dominated art societies. She also acted as business manager for her husband's commissions and illustration work. Mary did travel west with her husband in 1872 and 1874, however, various responsibilities kept her close to their eastern home.

Thomas's brother, Peter, was known for his images of animals. Most of his work depicts Pennsylvania farm scenes, barnyard images and domestic animals. He also traveled west to New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming as part of a federal program to document the culture and customs of Native American tribes of the Southwest

Edward Moran, Thomas' older brother, first came to prominence in the 1850s. Influenced by the English artist J.M.W. Turner, Edward Moran preferred painting seascapes. Edward's son, Leon, (1864-1941) also has a painting, "Portrait of a Young Girl," that is representative of the younger Moran's genre painting.

The Juniata College Museum of Art is located in historic Carnegie Hall at 17th and Moore streets in Huntingdon. Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Summer hours are Wednesday through Friday noon to 4 p.m. starting May 2. For more information, please call the museum at (814) 641-3505, or visit the Juniata College Web site at http://www.juniata.edu/museum.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.