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Thomas Moran

Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone
1872
watercolor and pencil
14 1/4 x 10 3/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Armistead Peter III

Moran painted seven watercolors of Yellowstone's Mammoth Hot Springs from different vantage points. The verticality of the limestone formations, as well as the rich variety of colors in the fluctuating composition of algae and bacteria in the springs, captured his imagination. This composition gives no indication of human scale, lending a sense of fantasy to an otherwise accurate view of an amazing natural phenomenon.