Sunday, October 3, 2010

Herbert Moore (1881-1943)

Herbert Moore was one of only a few Indiana artists to study under famed illustrator Howard Pyle or to go into show business. He was born on May 1, 1881, in Indianapolis, and attended Manual Training High School, a new institution whose purpose was to teach manual arts to Indianapolis students. Moore created a fountain, his first important work of art, for the school while he was a student. He would return to work in three dimensions later in life.

In 1904 Moore left home for New York and its Art Students League, where he studied under F.V. DuMond and Louis Loeb. An exhibit of Moore’s decorative work caught the attention of visiting lecturer Howard Pyle (1853-1911), who invited the young artist to come study with him. In December 1905, Moore joined P.V.E. Ivory, E. Roscoe Shrader, Harvey Dunn, Remington Schuyler, Sidney Chase, and George Dubois at Pyle’s famed school for illustrators in Wilmington, Delaware.

Between 1905 and 1909, Moore lived at the school, but in 1909 or 1910, he moved, along with Ivory, Shrader, and W.H.D. Koerner, to Naamans-on-Delaware, a historic house in nearby Clayton. Now called the Robinson House, Naamans housed Pyle’s students between about 1907 and 1914. Pyle died during that time and his school closed down. One by one, “the four horsemen of Naamans,” as Shrader later called them, went their separate ways. Shrader departed for California and a post with the Otis Art Institute in 1917. Koerner, married and with two children, set up a house and studio in Interlake, New Jersey, in 1919. Ivory moved to New York City in 1918 to be closer to its many publishers. By the end of the decade, Moore was in New York City as well, probably for the same reason.

Like other members of Pyle’s Brandywine school of artists, Moore illustrated stories of great drama and heroism from history and the Bible. His magazine clients included The Delineator, Harper’s, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Woman’s Home Companion. Moore and Shrader illustrated two books together, Stories from the Old Testament for Children by Harriet S. Blaine Beale (1907) and The Men Who Found America by Frederick Winthrop Hutchinson (1909). In later years, Moore worked with George Watson Barratt (1884-1962), another of Pyle’s students and one who enjoyed a long career in the theater, as a designer on Broadway. Moore’s own shows as a scenic designer included Angel Face (1919), The Sweetheart Shop (1920), Growing Pains (1933), and Night of January 16 (1935). Night of January 16, a courtroom drama written by Ayn Rand, is noteworthy for having drawn members of the audience to act as jurors in the play. Their verdict determined its outcome. The innovation made the play a hit, and it lasted 235 performances.

Moore turned fifty-five shortly after Night of January 16 closed. He may have continued to work in the arts scene in New York, for his address in 1942 was 1044 Madison Avenue, in the same neighborhood as several art museums and galleries. Herbert Moore died the following year, but the date is unknown.

One of Herbert Moore's illustrations from The Men Who Found America by Frederick Winthrop Hutchinson (1909). The subject of course is the valiant Sir Walter Raleigh and his queen. Howard Pyle's influence is clear and unmistakable.

A second illustration from the same book, and a quite different composition, showing Pizarro on the verge of destroying the Incas. Bright red and brilliant yellow foreshadow the violence and madness to come.

And a third illustration from Hutchinson's book. This time the explorer is Ferdinand de Soto. His pose is similar to Pizarro's, but there isn't any line to cross as in the previous picture. The weary explorer has reached his destination, a gray-green expanse of ocean.

Text and captions copyright 2010 Terence E. Hanley

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