Dutton’s lithography depicted the enormity of the Grand Canyon even better than photography: The medium eliminated shadows associated with any photographic images. Clarence Dutton and William Holmes. Atlas to Accompany the Monograph on the Tertiary History of the Grand Cañon District. Washington: Department of the Interior, 1882. Folio.
With 15 double-page color tinted lithographed views of the Grand Canyon, including one after Thomas Moran, and 9 after William H. Holmes. 11 double-page color lithographed maps, and 2 uncolored maps. Original publisher’s brown cloth. Clean and tight. Minor rubbing and wavy cloth on boards but fully intact.
Historian of the American West William Goetzmann calls W.H. Holmes "the greatest artist-topographer and man of many talents that the West ever produced. His artistic technique was like no other's. He could sketch panoramas of twisted mountain ranges, sloping monoclines, escarpments, plateaus, canyons, fault blocks, and grassy meadows that accurately depicted hundreds of miles of terrain. They were better than maps and better than photographs because he could get details of stratigraphy that light and shadow obscured from the camera. His illustrations for Dutton's TERTIARY HISTORY OF THE GRAND CANON DISTRICT are masterpieces of realism and draftsmanship as well as feats of imaginative observation."
Dutton's early field work centered on the Colorado Plateau. His description of this erosion-sculpted terrain enshrined Dutton as a founder of the "American school" of geology.
Moran' famous painting "The Grand Cañon of the Yellowstone" (1872) was the first landscape the government hung in the U.S. Capitol building and was purchased in June 1872, just three months after Congress voted to establish Yellowstone as the country’s first national park. By 1873, Thomas Moran was in high demand as an exploration artist and his work had been widely published.