Arts Everyday Living: Happy Holiday–Celebrate the 4th of July at the Grand Canyon


The whole gorge for miles lay beneath us and it was by far the most awfully grand and impressive scene that I have ever seen.*

Thomas Moran

Thomas Moran, The Chasm of the Colorado, 1873-1874, oil on canvas, Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.

I’m reposting this blog from several years ago.

In the summer of 1873, Thomas Moran, an artist with Major John Wesley Powell’s government expedition, finally reached the rim of the Grand Canyon. In the quote above, Moran recalls the wonder of that moment, when he first experiences the spectacular view that continues to draw more than 4 million visitors each year.

Moran, identified as a “Rocky Mountain Painter,” is often credited with helping lay the foundation for the U.S. National Park System.  For his The Chasm of the Colorado, done soon after his return from the Grand Canyon, was one of the epic paintings that inspired Congress to pass federal legislation to preserve the country’s priceless natural resources.


Note: The Chasm of the Colorado was bought by Congress in 1873 for $10,000; its dimensions are more than 7 feet high and 12 feet wide.

*Quote of Thomas Moran (1837-1926) is from a letter to his wife found in PBS American Experience website, Lost in the Grand Canyon, no date.














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