Thomas Moran's The Grand Canal, Venice

Currently on view

A special and unexpected loan now provides our visitors with a view of Venice, Italy, by the renowned painter, Thomas Moran. Typically, the CMA researches and strategically plans for loans of art, but in this case, Chief Curator Will South was surprised and delighted when the painting arrived unforeseen.

The owners (also CMA donors) of this Thomas Moran painting weren't expecting to see it here either. They asked their friends in Missouri to pick up and bring to Columbia a "small pastel of Notre Dame," which was "leaning against the wall of the bedroom" in the owner's Missouri home. Apparently, the friends only heard, "painting leaning against bedroom wall." They found a painting in that position, got it into the backseat of their Toyota with no room to spare, and delivered it the next day. The owners were shocked to see the star of their art collection emerge from the car. Not about to risk their prized possessionís return to Missouri in their friends' car or another night in a hotel parking lot, the owners asked Will South if he could display it for museum visitors for a while. And of course, South was delighted to comply.

Entitled The Grand Canal, Venice, Moranís sweeping view of this famous Italian city is a panorama of sunlight and color poured over some of the worldís most romantic architecture.

In this view of Venice, Moran turns the city into a dreamlike space of shimmering atmosphere and brilliant, iridescent color. Moranís level of skill in representing sky, water, architecture and the interplay of light among all these things is so remarkable that Moran is regarded as one of the greatest painters in American art.