International Exhibition – Albert Moore: Of Beauty and Aesthetics – (2016-17)
Museum De Buitenplaats, Netherlands - 10 December 2016 – 19 March 2017; York Art Gallery - 7 April – 1 October 2017
Albert Moore: Of Beauty and Aesthetics, showing at York Art Gallery from 7 April – 1 October 2017, is the first monographic exhibition of artist Albert Joseph Moore since his death in 1893. In partnership with the Museums De Buitenplaats, Netherlands, senior curator of art at York Art Gallery Laura Turner worked closely with Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn (University of York) in creating the exhibition, which is also based on recent research by Dr Robyn Asleson (The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery), author of Albert Moore (Phaidon Press, 2000/2004).
Before opening in York, the exhibition, entitled Albert Moore : Over schoonheid en esthetiek was on show at the Museum De Buitenplaats from 10 December 2016 – 19 March 2017.
Albert Moore (1841-1893) was one of the leading artists of the Aesthetic Movement who prioritised mood, colour harmony and beauty of form over subject matter to create ‘art for art’s sake’. As well as this aim of ‘art for art’s sake’, the exhibition explores Moore’s ‘Eternal Beauties’ and his development as a painter. It considers how Moore is now gaining recognition as a significant figure in the transition from representation to abstraction, adding weight to the argument for wider reassessment of Moore’s work, in particular regarding his contribution to Modernism.
The exhibition features more than 30 paintings and watercolours from galleries and private collections from across the United Kingdom. It includes paintings depicting the beautiful and classical women, for which the artist is most famous, as well as works that serve to demonstrate the progressive style which made him a significant forefather of British Abstract art.
Dr Turner said: 'We are thrilled to be bringing together some of Albert Moore’s most significant works to celebrate this extraordinary painter in his home city.
'At a time when the Victorians were looking for moral significance or narrative in works of art, Moore was producing work purely for visual pleasure. He was a firm believer in “art for art’s sake” who placed more value on the overall visual unity of the work rather than the actual subject. This was misunderstood by many of his contemporaries and critics of the day which meant his work was not fully appreciated during his lifetime and has been sparsely exhibited since.
'We hope this exhibition, with new research on his life and body of work, will bring a justified prominence to Moore and his position as one of the forefathers of British Abstract art.'
In conjunction with the exhibition, The Museums De Buitenplaats hosted a music recital on 12 February 2017. 'For Beauty's Sake' was performed by baritone Robbert Muuse and pianist Micah van Weers. The programme included songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Rebecca Clarke, Roger Quilter, Percy Grainger and Cyril Scott, setting the work of poets closely associated with or influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite movement, including Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ernest Dowson, Tennyson, Rosamund Marriott Watson and Yeats.
Samantha Timm (University of York), current holder of the Friends of York Art Gallery Research Scholarship, will give a public talk 'Albert Moore: Of Beauty and Aesthetics' at York Art Gallery on 19 April 2017.
An international conference ‘Rethinking Albert Moore’ will take place at the University of York in July 2017.
Main image: Exhibition banner for 'Albert Moore: Of Beauty and Aesthetics' at York Art Gallery, 2017; featuring 'Midsummer' by Albert Moore, 1887, reproduced with the kind permission of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth.