Friday, October 8, 2010
Albert Joseph Moore - Study for 'Pastoral scene of shepherds and maidens at a well' c.1886
watercolour on board with bodycolour heightened with white
26.4 x 17.6cm (10 3/8 x 6 15/16in).
The present lot is a coloured study for the central composition of Pastoral scene of shepherds and maidens at a well, charcoal on brown paper, circa 1866. Derived from Greek vase decoration, architectural symmetry is at the heart of both works, reflected in the figures and the frieze like quality of the sheep.
Painted at a time in Moore's career when he artist is mostly engaged in large-scale architectural frescoes and compositions, the present work also bears similarities to Compositional study of women drawing water at a well also circa 1866, which is currently held at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.1
In many ways Albert Joseph Moore remains as much an enigma now as he did in his own lifetime. A solitary, yet humorous and popular man, Moore never actively sought the artistic approbation so important to many of his contemporaries. Born into a highly gifted and artistic family, his first work showed the influence of Pre-Raphaelitism, but it was his fascination with the spirit of ancient classical sculpture, which was to define his short career. This is evident in the poses seen in the present lot, for which there are many existing studies drawn mostly in charcoal from nude and draped models.
1. Robyn Asleson, Albert Moore, Phaidon, 2000, p.65, pl.58 & 59
at 1:00 PM