The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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George Moore, 1852-1933

Nationality: Irish
Date of Birth: 1852.02.24
Place of Birth: Moore Hall, Ballyglass, County Mayo
Date of Death: 1933.01.21
Place of Death:


George Moore was an Irish novelist, art critic and painter. His brother Augustus Moore was also a writer.


Moore studied under Alexandre Cabanel at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and then at the Académie Julian. In Paris in 1875-9 he met Emile Zola and began to champion the work of Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas. The rest of his life he spent between London and Ireland, writing novels and critical works on contemporary art. He was a member of the Hogarth Club. From 1891 to 1895 he contributed art criticism to The Speaker: he had earlier written for The Hawk, of which his brother was editor. He owned a number of paintings by Manet, Degas, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Charles Conder and Ford Madox Brown, and was painted by Manet, Walter Richard Sickert, Henry Tonks, Jack B. Yeats and Jacques-Emile Blanche.

It was George Moore who introduced Whistler to William Eden around 1893. In the following controversy and trial concerning Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408), Moore publicly sided with Eden. After the trial Whistler sent Moore a scathing letter and Moore responded by goading Whistler with old age. This reply was published in the Pall Mall Gazette and reprinted in the French papers. Whistler challenged Moore to a dual but Moore did not reply.

Moore's relationship with Whistler was a troubled one. In 1890 Moore's brother and Whistler quarrelled over offensive remarks made by the former in The Hawk concerning E. W. Godwin. In 1897 when Whistler backed Joseph Pennell's libel action against Sickert, Moore appeared as a witness for the opposition.

Moore made a number of rather critical comments on Whistler's work. Although he described Sea and Rain (YMSM 65) in 1895 as 'fundamental, profound', he suggested that in his more recent work he considered Whistler to have 'ceased to think and to feel deeply'. In Modern Painting (1893) Moore specifically criticised Whistler's eclecticism. Whistler in turn described Moore to Degas as a mere gossip columnist who hung around artist's studios (#00818).


Moore, George, Confessions of a Young Man, London, 1888; Moore, G., Impressions and Opinions, London, 1891; Moore, G., 'Mr. Whistler's Portraits I', Speaker, 2 April 1892, pp. 406-7; Moore, G., 'Mr. Whistler's Portraits II', Speaker, 9 April 1892, pp. 436-37; Moore, G., Modern Painting, London, 1893; Moore, G., 'The End of the Season', Speaker, 27 July 1895, pp. 97-98; Moore, G., Reminiscences of the Impressionist Painters, Dublin, 1906; Hone, J., The Life of George Moore, New York, 1936; Seinfelt, F. W., George Moore: Ireland's Unconventional Realist, Philadelphia, 1975; Farrow, A., George Moore, London, 1978; Dunleavy, J. E. (ed.), George Moore in Perspective, New York, 1984; 'George Moore', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy at (accessed 23 April 2002).