Thomas Moran painted the American landscape like no other artist that came before him. Awed by the majestic qualities of the North American continent, he sought to capture its beauty and power in canvases that express the sense of potential and possibility that is unique to the American experience. The Cavern, California Coast, (also known as Sinbad Wrecked) is a work in which Moran focuses on the bold California coast, with its rich geological formations and impressive shoreline.
The extraordinary natural beauty and temperate climate of California appealed to Moran. After his long stays at the Grand Canyon, the painter enjoyed extended visits to California, saying, "I do not care to brave the Eastern cold, and I like the West, its wide spaces, its strength." He added, "The California landscape draws more compactly than the Eastern landscape." When Moran painted The Cavern, California Coast in 1919, he was living in Santa Barbara, but he still returned to the east coast to Long Island, where he maintained a home and studio in East Hampton. A contrast to the more civilized and tame scenery of East Hampton, the rugged beauty of the California coast represented for Moran the finest qualities of the American landscape.
This painting will be included in Stephen L. Good's and Phyllis Braff's forthcoming catalogue raisonn of the artist's work.