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Eddy on Rangeley Stream / Thomas Moran

Essay/Description

An avid angler, Thomas Moran visited Maine’s Rangeley Lakes in 1873, creating this ink wash and several other sketches to record his visit.1 As was sometimes the case, it was only later that he could capitalize on his field work when he secured a commission to illustrate the article “Trout-Fishing in the Rangeley Lakes” for the February 1877 issue of Scribner’s Monthly.2 The Rangeley Lakes were popular with anglers in the northeastern United States, particularly those who enjoyed fly-fishing.3 In fly-fishing, according to the article, the best results were obtained when the artificial fly was cast “in the eddy,” the whirlpool that formed in swiftly flowing waterways, such as that depicted in Moran’s Eddy on Rangeley Stream.4

—Sandra Pauly, Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar for Moran Collection Research, 2021

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1 In addition to this work, Gilcrease owns Looking Toward the Lake from the Camp, Down the Rangeley Stream (02.940), Stony Batter Island and Bald Mountain (02.876), and Stony Batter Isle (13.619). According to Anne Morand, the artist visited Rangeley Lakes in 1873, but she notes that two of the Gilcrease sketches are dated 1876. As no documentation has been found recording a visit in 1876, Morand concluded those dates were added later when Moran received the Scribner’s commission and that the Gilcrease sketches were completed during the 1873 trip. Morand, Thomas Moran: The Field Sketches, 41, 150. I would add that the 1873 visit is documented in a letter from Moran to geologist Ferdinand V. Hayden (May 28, 1873), in which the artist mentions he will be fishing in Maine in early June. Anderson et al., Thomas Moran, 207. Moreover, the Scribner’s article notes that the artist visited Rangeley Lakes in June of 1873, with no mention of a subsequent visit. Seymour, “Trout-Fishing in the Rangeley Lakes,” 445.
2 Moran provided three illustrations for the article: “Meeting of the Waters—Junction of Rangeley and Kennebago,” “Allerton Lodge,” and “Stony Batter.” Seymour, “Trout-Fishing in the Rangeley Lakes,” 438, 441, 446.
3 Seymour, “Trout-Fishing in the Rangeley Lakes,” 439.
4 Seymour, “Trout-Fishing in the Rangeley Lakes,” 443.

Curatorial Remarks

According to Anne Morand, the artist visited Rangeley Lakes in 1873, but she notes that two of the Gilcrease sketches are dated 1876. As no documentation has been found recording a visit in 1876, Morand concluded those dates were added later when Moran received a commission from Scribner’s magazine and that the Gilcrease sketches were completed during the 1873 trip. Morand, Thomas Moran: The Field Sketches, 41, 150. SPauly 2.24.222

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Title(s): 
Eddy on Rangeley Stream; Eddy on Rangely Stream
Creator(s): 
Thomas Moran (Artist)
Culture: 
American
Date: 
1873
Period: 
Hudson River School
Materials/Techniques: 
graphite and wash on paper
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
02.877
Previous Number(s): 
0226.877; 35749
Department: 
Signed by hand in pencil, "TMoran" in lower left on recto; Notes in the artist's hand; Inscribed by hand in pencil, "Eddy on Rangely Stream 1876" in lower left on recto.
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