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Born in Lancashire, Moran (1837-1926) was only seven years old when his family emigrated to the US - though in 1861 he did make a return visit to England in which he was influenced by study of the works of Joseph Turner and Claude Monet. He made the first of his many western journeys in 1871, travelling as an artist with F.V. Hayden's government-sponsored exploration of the Yellowstone valley. Entranced with what he found there, he returned time and time again, earning the nickname 'Yellowstone' (he even incorporated a letter Y into his monogrammed signature) and making his last visit at the advanced age of 87 years.

In 1954, Mists of Yellowstone was given to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Texas) by the publisher, philanthropist and collector Amon G. Carter, to mark the opening of their new building, but in 1972 it was placed on extended loan with the Amon Carter Museum itself (opened in 1961, initially to house Carter's huge collection of the works of Western artists Frederick Remington and Charles Russell) and just three years ago, the MAM's trustees, honouring the ACM's own expansion and renovation, decided to make it a return gift rather than a loan.

Moran's Yellowstone canvas was one of several lots sent for auction that produced record prices in a sale that totalled over $16m (£8.85m), among them Squaw Winter, depicting teepees in a wintery Montana landscape, by Taos artist Joseph Sharp, which made a double estimate $950,000 (£522,500). Also part of the Amon Carter Museum entry was The Arrow Maker, a large watercolour by Eanger Irving Couse (1866-1936) that made $280,000 (£154,000). Both lots were accompanied by letters from the artists to Amon Carter.