Not on display
George Augustus Moore (1852–1933) was born at Moore Hall, Lough Carra, County Mayo, Ireland. His father, George Henry Moore (1810–1870), was a gentleman horse breeder and Member of Parliament. While the family were living in London, George Moore decided he wanted an artistic career and so enrolled as an art student in 1868, a move bitterly opposed by his parents who wanted him to join the army. The early death of Moore’s father in 1870 allowed him freedom to follow his desire, as well as the income from the family estate in Ireland.
Moore went to Paris in 1873 and enrolled first at the École des Beaux-Arts, and then at various private schools and ateliers. Realising his artistic abilities were slight, he instead turned to a literary career, and drew particular inspiration from the Nouvelle Athènes, a café frequented by artists and writers. There he met Émile Zola, who encouraged him to become a writer. During these years in Paris, Moore became friends with Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet, the latter making a portrait of him (fig.1), and he was also on intimate terms with the symbolist writers Stéphane Mallarmé, Joris-Karl Huysmans and Paul Verlaine.1
Moore returned to London in 1880, producing a series of novels, including the famous Esther Waters (1894), while also turning his attention to writing on art.2 As art critic of the Speaker he championed Manet and Degas, and modern French art as a whole. When he moved to the Saturday Review, Moore nominated Walter Sickert to replace him. In 1891 Moore published Impressions and Opinions, which included colourful essays on Zola, Verlaine, Honoré de Balzac, Arthur Rimbaud and Jules Laforgue, while his 1893 Modern Painting established him as the chief apologist for new developments in art. In this period his and Sickert’s views on art almost exactly coincided.
See Matthew Sturgis, Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography, London 1998, p.80.
Details of Moore’s life from Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford 2004.
George Moore, Conversations in Ebury Street, London 1969, p.124.
See Robert Emmons, The Life and Opinions of Walter Richard Sickert, London 1992, p.101.
R.S. Becker, The Letters of George Moore 1863–1901, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Reading 1980, pp.313–5.
Reproduced in Wendy Baron, Sickert: Paintings and Drawings, New Haven and London 2006, no.56.
Reproduced in Bruce Laughton, Philip Wilson Steer, Oxford 1971, pl.82.
Umpire, 6 December 1891.
See Baron 2006, no.57.
See Wendy Baron, Sickert, London 1973, no.52.
George Moore, ‘A Book about Bastien-Lepage’, Speaker, 20 February 1892, p.442.
Yorkshire Post, 27 November 1891.
Liverpool Mercury, 21 November 1891.
National Press, 22 November 1891.
‘New English Art Club’, Times, 30 November 1891.
Echo, 1 December 1891.
‘In the Picture Galleries: The New English Art Club by a Neo-Anglican’, Pall Mall Gazette, 28 November 1891.
Birmingham Post, 27 November 1891.
Herald, 29 November 1891; the writer is alluding to Émile Zola’s novel Thérèse Raquin (1867), in which the murderer, Laurent, is an artist all of whose paintings in some way resemble his victim.
Truth, 3 December 1891.
Lillian Browse, Sickert, London 1960, p.22.
Spectator, 5 December 1891; see Baron 1973, no.55.
‘Obituary: Mr George Moore: A Master of English Narrative’, Times, 23 January 1933, p.14.
James Laver, Museum Piece, London 1963, p.93; quoted in Matthew Sturgis, Walter Sickert: A Life, London 2005, p.189.
See Baron 1973, no.55.
Emmons 1992, p.97.
Quoted ibid., p.89.
Ibid., p.96. Steer actually presented the painting c.1911 to the Contemporary Art Society, which gave it to the Tate Gallery in 1917.
D.S. MacColl, Life, Work and Setting of Philip Wilson Steer, London 1945, p.3.
This Year’s Art, London 1912, p.150.
The Contemporary Art Society.
Walter Sickert, letter to Nan Hudson and Ethel Sands, undated, Tate Archive TGA 9125/5.
Reproduced in Sotheby’s, London, 18 July 1973 (24) and Baron 2006, no.66, as Man with a Drooping Moustache.