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Print A: Bridge over the Delaware, Easton, Pa. / Mary Nimmo Moran


“In 1879, my husband going on an expedition to the then unexplored Yellowstone Country advised my taking up etching during his absence and during that summer I etched six plates taking them directly from nature and working entirely out of doors.”1 —Mary Nimmo Moran

Bridge over the Delaware, Easton, Pa. is one of Mary Nimmo Moran’s first etchings.2 The title, however, does not reflect the fact that there are two bridges depicted in the work. She favored the older bridge with its timber trusses and stone piers by foregrounding it, but we can see the iron crossbars of a newer span in the distance.

Progress and industrialization had arrived with the metal bridge, but the artist preferred to focus on the rustic qualities of the older span. Even more intriguing, as art historian Shannon Vittoria observes, is what the artist left out—there was a third bridge, the Central New Jersey Railway Bridge, between the two spans.3 Although Nimmo Moran claimed her etchings were “taken directly from nature,” the absence of one bridge suggests she took artistic liberties and recorded her personal response to a scene, rather than portraying it with complete accuracy.

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

1 Nimmo Moran, Incomplete autobiographical sketch, undated, Thomas Moran Biographical Art Collection, East Hampton Library, Long Island Collection. Thomas Moran did not go to Yellowstone that summer, but traveled through Northern California, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho, producing field sketches such as Tahoe (02.886) and Upper End of Cottonwood Canyon (02.884). Wilkins, Thomas Moran: Artist of the Mountains, 177–84.
2 Vittoria, “Nature and Nostalgia in the Art of Mary Nimmo Moran,” 157–82. The other etchings from 1879 are The St. Johns River, FL (14.841), Bridge over the Bushkill, Easton, Pa. (14.71a), East Hampton Barrens (14.75a), Newark, N.J. from the Passaic (14.76a), and Hay-ricks, Newark Meadows (14.77a).
3 Vittoria, “Nature and Nostalgia in the Art of Mary Nimmo Moran,” 170–72. Although Nimmo Moran did not include the Central New Jersey Railway Bridge in the etching, she did sketch it, and that drawing, 23rd July, Easton, 1879 (18.6.3), is in the Gilcrease collection.

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Print A: Bridge over the Delaware, Easton, Pa.
Mary Nimmo Moran (Artist)
printing ink on paper
Landscape; single-sided 0.209- 0.212 mm Cream, Japan paper. Smooth, slightly mottled surface with clumped fibers in transmitted light.
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
1426.74A; 10818
Not On View

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