Yellowstone | Hudson River School

The American West: Yellowstone

Thomas Moran’s vision of the western landscape was critical to the creation of Yellowstone National Park. His watercolor and pencil sketches and numerous full-scale paintings captured the grandeur of the site and helped document the natural features and unique topography of the Yellowstone region. His dramatic vistas on large-scale canvasses became the signature vision that influenced the American vision of the West. Thomas Moran’s Mists in the Yellowstone (1908) and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (1872), purchased by the Department of the Interior, are notable examples. Albert Bierstadt’s Geyser, Yellowstone Park of around 1881, now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, captures one of Yellowstone’s most iconic natural wonders.


Thomas Moran (1837–1926) Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, 1872
Oil on canvas mounted on aluminum, 84 x 144¼ inches
Collection Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, lent by the Department of the Interior Museum, Office of the Secretary, L. 1968.84.1