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East Hampton Historical Society To Host "Thomas Moran Discovers The American West"

Courtney File

Above Tower Falls, Yellowstone, Thomas Moran. Courtesy of Guild Hall. Gift of Ruth B. Moran.

After being gifted to the Yellowstone National Park in the 1940s, works from Thomas Moran, the founder of East Hampton's artists' colony, has made its way back to the Hamptons and will be highlighted as part of the East Hampton Historical Society's "Thomas Moran Discovers the American West" exhibition.

Located at 229 Main Street in East Hampton, in the newly renovated Moran studio, the historical show displays parts of Moran's involvement in the 1871 Hayden Expedition to Wyoming as well as its influence on the art world and the National Parks Service.

The exhibition's home actually belonged to the Moran's family. In 1884, Thomas Moran along with his wife and children moved into the house on the historic Main Street. The abode was actually designed by Thomas Moran. This studio was the first built in East Hampton, and has played a crucial role in American art history. Luckily this historical home was saved from its decay, by a five-year restoration project in July 2018.

"The vision of the Moran Studio," said Maria Vann, Executive Director of the East Hampton Historical Society, "is to provide visitors 'an experience of place' that holds historic, artistic, and cultural value. Having visitors experience a place where history actually happened can be a very powerful tool for imagination and understanding," said Ms. Vann.

So, the Moran Studio is returning to its former glory as a "beacon of art and culture," and with the help of Moran's historical pieces, it will continue to be a place where the community can educate and enlighten themselves through art.

"The significance of the Moran's and their role locally and nationally is of great importance to the world of art," said Ms. Vann, "but in a broader sense because of Thomas Moran's role in the founding of our National Parks."

The exhibition, which was curated by Richard Barons, the East Hampton Historical Society's Chief Curator, will also feature rare loans from the National Park Service, including period maps, stereographic cards, wood engravings, photographs and key late 19th century publications.

"Thomas Moran Discovers the American West" will open on Saturday, June 29, and run through Saturday, November 9.

For more information go to https://easthamptonhistory.org.

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