Thomas Moran traveled throughout the United States, painting large canvases of picturesque and dramatic views complete with the effects of storm clouds, sunsets, rainbows, and other atmospheric phenomena. Such images found favor with the newly wealthy leaders of American commerce and industry. Not only did Moran’s paintings echo the country’s widening horizons, but they were also an appropriate size for imposing Victorian drawing rooms. Here, the popular theme of livestock in a landscape is spacious and animated. The glow of the evening sky to the left of the canvas contrasts dramatically with trees that stir in the wind of an oncoming storm to the right. The farmer’s work, however, is not done until his cattle are out of harm’s way and secure for the night.
Label from Menagerie: Animals on View, March 11–June 4, 2017