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Sketchbook late 19th century: House, Pond, People / Mary Nimmo Moran


In this drawing, a woman stands, hands on hips and lower back, perhaps stretching after getting up, and a variety of items lie scattered on the ground at her feet. She gazes over at two youngsters sitting by a pond, and in the distance is a building framed by a curtain of trees. The scene may depict the artist Mary Nimmo Moran portraying herself during a significant summer for her artistic career. Although already an accomplished painter, Nimmo Moran began exploring another medium—etching—while her husband, the artist Thomas Moran (1837–1926), was away on a trip to the western United States.1

As her daughter Ruth later related, her mother took the children in one hand, her sketchbooks and plates in the other, and went outdoors to work directly from nature, and this drawing may record one of those excursions.2 Ruth’s childhood memory and the sketch also reveal a challenge encountered by women attempting to pursue careers while they also had to bear the primary responsibility of raising their children. Nimmo Moran, children in tow, created numerous field sketches and six etchings during her husband’s absence, including the sketch Easton, July 29, 1879 (18.6.5), and the etchings Bridge over the Delaware, Easton, Pa. (14.74a) and East Hampton Barrens (14.75a).3

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

1 Vittoria, “Nature and Nostalgia in the Art of Mary Nimmo Moran,” 145–57. Examples of Nimmo Moran’s oil paintings are rare, but the Gilcrease owns one, Untitled (landscape) (01.2593).
2 Vittoria, “Nature and Nostalgia in the Art of Mary Nimmo Moran,” 160.
3 Vittoria, “Nature and Nostalgia in the Art of Mary Nimmo Moran,” 157–82. The other etchings are The St. Johns River, FL (14.841), Bridge over the Bushkill, Easton, Pa. (14.71a), Newark, N.J. from the Passaic (14.76a), and Hay-ricks, Newark Meadows (14.77a).

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Sketchbook late 19th century: House, Pond, People
Mary Nimmo Moran (Artist)
August 29, 1879
graphite on paper
Landscape; single sided 0.176- 0.179 mm Wove, machine-made, light cream in color. Media is located on the wire side; smooth side on the verso.
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
1826.6.7; 39650
Not On View

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