Edward Moran (1829–1901)
New York Harbor, c. 1870
Oil on canvas, 14 1/2 x 18 in.
Signed lower left: Ed. Moran
Note: This painting retains its original frame.
New York Harbor shows a windy day on a busy harbor. It is crowded with boats, their colorful sails billowing in the wind. In the foreground, a sailboat leans into a turn, creating a wake of choppy waves. Its mast pierces the sky as the boom swings out to the right. Two people occupy the boat, which is adorned with a red stripe and painted in warm brown, red, and orange tones. Behind it, a black and gold steamship is tugging into harbor, puffing black smoke and white steam. The other sailboats are painted in vibrant pastel orange, yellow, and blue, and the distant buildings on the shore are hazy lavender and pink. The water is green and pale blue, with white highlights that reflect the sunny sky. Delicate white, gray, and pink clouds float overhead, revealing a tranquil blue sky. Moran’s attention to detail does not stifle his interest in movement and life, thus the painting expresses an active, energetic quality.