Moore, Albert Joseph (1841-1893)

Moore, Albert Joseph (1841-1893)

Albert Joseph Moore was a ground-breaking artist of the Aesthetic movement which burgeoned in the latter half of 19th-century Britain. With the motto ‘art for art’s sake’ as his oath, Moore’s work seeks to express the beauty of form over function. There's no other meaning in aesthetic art, there is no allegorical basis nor moral lesson to be taught. It was this which made aestheticism, and Moore’s work, unique in Victorian Britain.

Moore found an affinity with classical subjects. The women he depicts are draped in robes as they are themselves draped over chairs or benches. It should be noted, however, that whilst Moore drew on classical iconography, he had no interest in presenting an idealised, classical world. Indeed, Moore’s work has some fascinating anachronisms such as a woman robed in a folded sheet, holding a shuttlecock and racket. Art critics and the public were not sure what to make of this, and Moore was forsaken from national acclaim. However, he was praised in art journals for his draughtsmanship and his harmonious use of colour.

Moore had shown great promise from a young age and artistic ability ran strong in his blood. His father was a landscape artist and his brothers, John Collingham Moore (1829-1880) and Henry Moore (1831-1895), also established careers in painting. Moore, however, more so than his brothers, struck out in the less conventional styles of paintings.

Initially he had been influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with their focus on biblical subjects.

Moore painted a scene of Elijah’s sacrifice and used famous Pre-Raphaelite model Fanny Eaton for his painting of Sisera’s mother. However, it was upon meeting James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) in 1865 that Moore’s interest in aestheticism burgeoned. The two became good friends and together established this new, dynamic, and conventionally antithetical form of painting.

Moore’s works are now housed in public collections such as Manchester, Walker Art Gallery, and the V&A.

1841

Born in York.

1853

Earned a medal from the Department of Science and Art in Kensington.

1855

Attended the Kensington Grammar School.

1857

First exhibited at the Royal Academy with two drawings.

1858

Began studying at the Royal Academy, left after only a few months.

1863

Travelled to Rome.

1865

Meets James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

1884

Appointed an Associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour.

1893

Died in London. Buried in Highgate Cemetery.

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