Thomas Moran (1837-1926)
Thomas Moran (1837-1926)

The Lagoon, Venice

Thomas Moran (1837-1926)
The Lagoon, Venice
signed with initials in monogram and dated 'TMoran. NA/1898.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
20 1/8 x 30 in. (51.1 x 76.2 cm.)
Painted in 1898.
John Levy Galleries, New York.
August Heckscher, New York, 1902.
Virginia H.C. Heckscher, wife of the above.
Estate of the above.
Parke-Bernet, New York, Fine Paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite and Barbizon Schools; Old Masters; British Portraits; Examples by American Painters, 22 January 1942, lot 29, sold by the above.
Carlton Palmer, Long Island, New York, acquired from above.
F.E. Rice, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, acquired from the above, circa 1942.
By descent to the present owner.
Dubuque, Iowa, Dubuque Museum of Art, September 2011-August 2017, on loan.

Brought to you by

Annie Rosen
Annie Rosen

Lot Essay

This work will be included in Stephen L. Good's and Phyllis Braff's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work.

In May 1886 Thomas Moran traveled to Venice for the first time. A popular subject of interest and nostalgia in the late nineteenth century, Venice was certainly already a familiar place for Moran through the writings of Lord Byron and John Ruskin and depictions by J.M.W. Turner. Nonetheless, he was amazed by the splendor of the place, writing to his wife Mary, "Venice is all, and more, than travelers have reported of it. It is wonderful. I shall make no attempt at description..." (as quoted in N.K. Anderson, et al., Thomas Moran, New Haven, Connecticut, 1997, p. 122) Upon his return, Moran immediately set to work on studio oils, and, from that point forward, he submitted a Venetian scene almost every year he exhibited at the National Academy. "The subject became his 'best seller.'" (Thomas Moran, p. 123)

The present work was long part of the collection of noted German-American industrialist, developer and philanthropist August Heckscher, before it passed to his wife, and eventually her estate. It was acquired circa 1942 by F. Edgar ‘F.E.’ Rice, an executive at Phillips Petroleum who played an important role in the early development of that company and of the energy industry as a whole. Rice was a pioneer in his field, with his work in liquified petroleum gas proving seminal to widespread use of the product in the form of propane or butane to heat homes and power cooking appliances. A long-time Phillips employee, Rice eventually established himself as Vice President and contributed significantly to the company's status as an international leader. Much like Phillips Petroleum’s founder, Frank Phillips, Rice was an active collector of Western American Art at the turn of the century. In addition to the present work, his collection also included notable paintings by Nicolai Fechin and Lot 47 by Thomas Moran.

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