Originally featured in Points West in Summer 2007
Thomas Moran’s Golden Gate, Yellowstone National Park
“[Golden Gate Pass] is one of those marvelous vistas of mountain scenery utterly beyond the pen or brush of any man. Paint cannot touch it, and words are wasted…. I marveled at the courage of the man who dared the deed,” said Frederic Remington of Thomas Moran’s painting Golden Gate, Yellowstone National Park
Artists have been grappling with the awe-inspiring landscape of Yellowstone for more than one hundred years. Moran was so closely tied to the park that he became known as Thomas “Yellowstone” Moran. He accompanied the official governmental expedition into the region in 1871 and his sketches of the wonders helped to convince Congress to establish Yellowstone as the first national park. His Golden Gate is a perfect example of Yellowstone in art.
Moran returned to Yellowstone in 1892 to make images for the Wyoming exhibition at the World’s Colombian Exhibition in Chicago. Golden Gate, Yellowstone National Park was painted the following year based on five drawings completed on his trip. Paintings such as this one further solidified Moran’s identification with Yellowstone.
Thomas Moran (1837 – 1926), Golden Gate, Yellowstone National Park, 1893, oil on canvas, 36.25 x 50.25 inches. 4.75