Born in Bolton, Lancashire, England in 1829, this pivotal marine impressionist emigrated to the United States at the age of 15 where he became a pupil of Philadelphia marine artist James Hamilton. With his younger artist brother, Thomas, he returned to England and studied at the Royal Academy and received additional instruction at the Paris Academy, which built a strong European influence in his work.
In 1871 he settled permanently in New York and began a successful career painting marines, landscapes and historical subjects. He became best known for his seascapes that showed a strong influence by Turner. A series he created of thirteen paintings of important epochs in American maritime history were widely exhibited and later were acquired by the New York Public Library, helping to establish Edward Moran as one of the most important marine artists of the period.
Moran's marine paintings are dramatically conceived, with brilliant sunsets, vibrant blue green seas and glowing background color. Many of his works feature New York harbor where he spent most of his active career and where he died in 1901.