Meet the Artistic Morans

"New York Harbor" by Edward Moran, oil on canvas, circa 1865. Private collection. Courtesy East Hampton Historical Society.

The Civil War wounded the soul of America and was cataclysmic. Americans longed for a new era of pride, prosperity and optimism.  Artists and writers looked toward the wild places in nature that could symbolize a pure and new America. The beauty of our natural heritage became the national metaphor for healing.

One of the most powerful subjects that these artists turned to was the sea. It was the ocean’s multiple personalities that lured artists to portray it in its many roles. The sea can be operatic in its fury or poetic when it is placid and alluring.  19th century artists followed our coastlines from north to south.  The oceans offered both pleasure and profit.

On July 1, the East Hampton Historical Society opens “The Sounding Sea: The Art of Edward, Thomas & Mary Nimmo Moran” at the circa 1884 Thomas & Mary Nimmo Moran Studio on Main Street in East Hampton. The show follows the careers of three members of one of America’s most illustrious artistic families. Within three generations, there were almost a dozen artists in the family, by birth or marriage.

The exhibition will look at the paintings of Edward Moran, paintings and etchings by Thomas Moran and the etchings of Mary Nimmo Moran. The show strings together this trio of artists as it examines their seascapes.  When they took-up their brushes and etching needles, the Morans captured the power of the sounding sea for posterity.

The exhibition will run through September 2021 at the Thomas & Mary Nimmo Moran Studio, 229 Main Street, East Hampton. Hours are Thursday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets must be pre-purchased at