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Thomas Moran
Cliffs of the Upper Colorado River, Wyoming Territory
1882
oil
16 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design



The majestic array of cliffs that lines the banks of the Green River in southwestern Wyoming ranked high among Thomas Moran's favorite Western subjects. He returned there time and again, sketching it from different angles and under changing skies. Though small in size, this painting gives a sensation of expansiveness, as a small group of Indians rides toward a distant encampment below soaring cliffs. Moran's opalescent colors and flowing brushwork evoke an untouched wilderness, although the area was settled by the 1880s.