New York: 1912. Elephant folio chromolithograph print, 34 1/4 x 25 inches, plus margins. In fine condition, beautifully archivally framed. According to Graham Arader, this magnificent print was published by the American Lithography Company of New York City in an edition of 2,500 copies. "At the time, Moran was the nation's best known landscape painter, noted especially for his depictions of the Far West and its parks and monuments. The Santa Fe Railway was the first to lay a line to the Grand Canyon, in 1901. To promote tourism, Santa Fe officials later had copies of this lithograph framed and distributed to schools, libraries, civic organizations, and railroad customers throughout the country...To the great majority of Americans who did not have the resources or daring to travel to the West, Moran provided this image of the country's infinite potential as symbolized by its dramatic, unique landscape. The artist showed American expansion as a fated conclusion, a glorious destiny indelibly written in the literal stone of the country's landscape. ... Yet for all of his nostalgia, Moran was a realist. He recognized that the beauty of the West needed no embellishment, and his portrayals and views of the West presented it as it was." The Reese Co. adds of their example: "This majestic print is the largest and most dramatic of Thomas Moran's printed works. It was published by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad in 1912, after the original oil commissioned for (and still owned by) the line. It shows a tremendous sweep of the scenery of the Grand Canyon from the Hermit Rim, with the bright colors of the Canyon shown dramatically against the turbulent sky. Thomas Moran, famous for his superb landscapes of the West, first painted the Grand Canyon in 1873 when he painted his "Chasm of the Colorado," which he sold to Congress the following year. In 1892 he visited the Canyon as a guest of the Santa Fe Railroad, whose line now brought tourists within easy reach, and painted a large canvas for the line in return for a free trip. The Santa Fe Railroad completed a spur line to the rim in 1901, and consistently sponsored "artist's excursions" there from 1901 to 1912, as well as purchasing paintings to serve as a basis for promotional efforts. In 1912 the railroad capped twenty years of association with Moran by commissioning this picture and producing this large chromolithograph. Almost all copies of this Moran print were soon distributed by the Santa Fe Railroad as a promotional gift. Few of these have survived, generally being badly framed, usually without glass, and displayed in poor conditions. (Inventory #: 122665)
Books and manuscripts in all fields, especially medieval illuminated and text manuscripts; material on California, Hawaii, and Pacific voyages; illustrated books and fine bindings from the 15th through the 20th century; children's books from 1750 to 1950; and fine press printing. William Blake, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Thomas Frognall Dibdin are special interests.
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