Amon Carter print details

Cliffs of Green River

Thomas Moran (1837-1926)

Object Details

  • Date


  • Object Type


  • Medium

    Oil on canvas

  • Dimensions

    25 1/8 x 45 3/8 in.

  • Inscriptions


    signed and dated l.r.: TM [monogram] oran. 1874


    titled and signed u.c., in graphite on brown paper attached to stretcher: Valley of the Rio Virgin - TM [monogram]

    u.r., in ink on brown paper attached to stretcher: FG # 1

  • Credit Line

    Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

  • Accession Number


  • Copyright

    Public domain

Object Description

In 1871, Moran accompanied a United States Geological Survey expedition to explore the area currently known as Yellowstone National Park. Long a gathering place for the Crow, Blackfoot, Shoshone, and other peoples, this region was still largely unknown to U.S. settlers. On his way to join the Yellowstone expedition, Moran traveled by rail to Green River, Wyoming, where he found himself drawn to the multicolored, sedimentary bluffs rising above the town. These geological landmarks became one of his favorite subjects, repeated in more than 40 canvases over the next 30 years, including this 1874 rendering. Green River was already a major rail crossroads by the time Moran first visited, but it always remained in his mind’s eye a landscape untouched by colonization and industry.

—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023).

Additional details

Location: On view
See more by Thomas Moran


Educator Resources
  • How do sensory details in an artwork influence the viewer's experience?

    What artistic choices does an artist make in painting the land?

    Why might an artist romanticize a subject?

    How might a work of art contribute to the preservation or destruction of land or the environment?

  • Grades Pre-K–3

    Have students imagine taking a trip in 1874. On a horse cutout, students may either sketch what they would see while traveling, what activities they may participate in while traveling or, at their final destination, who they might see, or a reason why they are traveling.

    Grades 4–8

    Ask students to write a description of this painting for someone who has never seen it. They should pay special attention to the colors and details that the artist captured. Encourage students to imagine that they have just arrived in this place for the first time. What would they explore while there?

    Allow students to sketch their school or the area around it before it was completed. What would the setting look like without the playground, before the track field was added, or the gym was built?

    Grades 4–12

    Have students write a letter home from the perspective of one of the figures in Cliffs of Green River. Be sure that they describe the setting as if seeing it for the first time. Students should also include information about how they imagine the land being used, or not used, in the future.

    All Levels

    Show students a picture of railroad construction near Green River (see Andrew J. Russell's, Citadel Rock, Green River Valley). Does this view of Green River look that same as Moran’s? What is different? When Thomas Moran painted this scene, this area had already been transformed into a major rail crossroads. Why might Moran have chosen to show it to us like this? Have students sketch how Moran’s Cliffs might have actually looked at the time he painted this scene.

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