In the artist's words: "I was completely carried away by its [the Grand Canyon's] magnificence. I will not attempt to say anything about it as no words can express the faintest notion of it."
Quoted in Ron Tyler, Visions of America: Pioneer Artists in a New Land (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1983).
Thomas Moran was an eastern artist who enjoyed going on geological expeditions, although he was not the rugged type. He joined an expedition to the remote headwaters of the Yellowstone River in Wyoming and, two years later, went to the Grand Canyon, which he sketched many times from an overlook called "Powell's Plateau." When he returned to his studio in the East, he combined ideas from his small sketches to produce enormous paintings. By then he had established a fine reputation as an artist, and his glorious watercolors of Yellowstone had encouraged Congress in 1872 to designate it as the nation's first national park.