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ALBERT JOSEPH MOORE (1841–1893)

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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 808 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALBERT JOSEPH MOORE (1841–1893), English decorative painter, was born at York on the 4th of September 1841. He was the youngest of the fourteen children of the artist, William Moore, of York who in the first half of the I9th century enjoyed a considerable reputation in the North of England as a painter of portraits and landscape. In his childhood Albert Moore showed From Strasburger's Lelnbuch der Botanik, by permission of Gustav Fischer. Botrychium Lunaria. an extraordinary love of art, and as he was encouraged in his tastes by his father and brothers, two of whom after-wards became famous as artists—John Collingham Moore, and Henry Moore, R.A.—he was able to begin the active exercise of his profession at an unusually early age. His first exhibited works were two drawings which he sent to the Royal Academy in 1857. A year later he became a student in the Royal Academy schools; but after working in them for a few months only he decided that he would be more profitably occupied in independent practice. During the period that extended from 1858 to 187o, though he produced and exhibited many pictures and drawings, he gave up much of his time to decorative work of various kinds, and painted, in 1863, a series of wall decorations at Coombe Abbey, the seat of the earl of Craven; in 1865 and 1866 some elaborate compositions: " The Last Supper " and " The Feeding of the Five Thousand " on the chancel walls of the church of St Alban's, Rochdale; and in 1868 " A Greek Play," an important panel in tempera for the proscenium of the Queen's Theatre in Long Acre. His first large canvas, " Elijah's Sacrifice," was completed during a stay of some five months in Rome at the beginning of 1863, and appeared at the Academy in 1865. A still larger picture, " The Shunamite relating the Glories of King Solomon to her Maidens," was exhibited in 1866, and with it two smaller works, " Apricots " and " Pomegranates." In these Albert Moore asserted plainly the particular technical conviction which for the rest of his life governed the whole of his practice, and with them he first took his place definitely among the most original of British painters. Of his subsequent works the most notable are "The Quartette " (1869), " Sea Gulls " (1871), " Follow-my-Leader " (1873), " Shells " (1874), " Topaz " (1879), " Rose Leaves " (1880), " Yellow Marguerites " (1881), " Blossoms " (1881), " Dreamers " (1882), " Reading Aloud " (1884), " Silver " (1886), " Midsummer " (1887), " A River Side " (1888), " A Summer Night " (189o), " Lightning and Light " (1892), " An Idyll " (1893), and " The Loves of the Winds and the Seasons," a large picture which was finished only a few days before his death. He died on the 25th of September 1893, at his studio in Spenser Street, Westminster. Several of his pictures are now in public collections; among the chief are " Blossoms," in the National Gallery of British Art; " A Summer Night " in the Liverpool Corporation Gallery; " Dreamers " in the Birmingham Corporation Gallery; and a water-colour, " The Open Book," in the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington. In all his pictures, save two or three produced in his later boyhood, he avoided any approach to story-telling, and occupied himself exclusively with decorative arrangements of lines and colour masses. The spirit of his art is essentially classic, and his work shows plainly that he was deeply influenced by study of antique sculpture; but he was not in any sense an archaeological painter, nor did he attempt reconstructions of the life of past centuries. Artistically he lived in a world of his own creation, a place peopled with robust types of humanity of Greek mould, and gay with bright-coloured draperies and brilliant-hued flowers. As an executant he was careful and certain; he drew finely, and his colour-sense was remarkable for its refinement and subtle appreciation. Few men have equalled him as a painter of draperies, and still fewer have approached his ability in the application of decorative principles to pictorial art.
End of Article: ALBERT JOSEPH MOORE (1841–1893)
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