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Phyllis Braff

(b Bolton, Lancs, Feb 12, 1837; d Santa Barbara, CA, Aug 26, 1926).

American painter, printmaker, and illustrator, of English birth. His brothers Edward (1829–1901), John (1831–1902), and Peter (1841–1914) were also artists. The family emigrated from England and settled in Philadelphia in 1844. At age 16 Moran was apprenticed to the wood-engraving firm Scattergood and Telfer, but he also began to produce watercolours that sold well. In an exchange arrangement with a book dealer, Moran acquired editions of important engravings, including Claude Lorrain’s Liber Veritatis and J. M. W. Turner’s Liber Studiorum. These served as formative influences for his career as a landscape painter, and contributed to his lifelong concern with pictorial structure and compositional devices. His study of oil painting was guided by his brother Edward, and by Edward’s acquaintance, the marine painter James Hamilton.

Moran’s interest in evocative natural settings led to a trip to Lake Superior in 1860 and to a series of paintings and prints featuring that region’s dramatic configurations of rocks and shoreline. In ...