'John Moore showed some discontent with the prevailing outlook in Australian landscape painting soon after his return from Europe after the war ... [he] showed an unusually strong interest in nature in its more dramatic moods ... a weariness with perpetual sunshine and the unchanging mood which was thought to be proper to the typical Australian landscape.'
- Basil Burdett, 1933
Although practising as an architect, Moore also maintained his career as a painter. Like his fellow artists in the Contemporary Group founded by George Lambert and Thea Proctor, he contributed to the development of the modern movement in Sydney through an approach which emphasised formal construction. Using the framework of architecture, Moore's view of 'Sydney Harbour' was taken from the balcony of his house in the eastern Sydney suburb of Vaucluse. His well-regarded landscapes, more often in the medium of watercolour, arose from a love of sketching out-of-doors and for the watercolours of English artists John Sell Cotman, Constable, James Innes and Wilson Steer.
oil on canvas
91.5 x 122.5 cm stretcher; 119.5 x 150.5 x 6.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. corner, brown oil "JOHN D MOORE 36".
© Estate of David Moore
Shown in 10 exhibitions
Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1936), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], Sydney, 04 Sep 1936–02 Oct 1936
150 years of Australian art (1938), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jan 1938–25 Apr 1938
Golden Gate International Exposition:
Art of Australia 1788-1941:
- National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. 01 Oct 1941–26 Oct 1941
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 17 Nov 1941–31 Dec 1941
- Yale University Art Gallery, United States of America 02 Mar 1942–23 Mar 1942
- Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh 03 Apr 1942–15 May 1942
- Wilmington Society of Fine Arts, Wilmington 01 Jun 1942–27 Jun 1942
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art, United States of America 10 Jul 1942–27 Aug 1942
- Toledo Museum of Art, United States of America 06 Sep 1942–27 Sep 1942
- Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester 05 Oct 1942–02 Nov 1942
- Cleveland Museum of Art, United States of America 09 Nov 1942–07 Dec 1942
- Detroit Institiute of Arts, Detroit 01 Jan 1943–29 Jan 1943
- Herron Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indianapolis 08 Apr 1943–05 May 1943
- Fort Wayne Art School and Museum, Fort Wayne 12 May 1943–31 May 1943
- Rockhill Nelson Gallery, Kansas City 07 Sep 1943–08 Oct 1943
- Philbrook Art Museum, Tulsa 20 Oct 1943–17 Nov 1943
- Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, Dallas 28 Nov 1943–26 Dec 1943
- Abilene Museum of Fine Arts, Abilene 10 Jan 1944–07 Feb 1944
- Heard Museum, Phoenix Fine Arts Association, Phoenix 21 Feb 1944–20 Mar 1944
- San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco 04 Apr 1944–07 May 1944
- Rosicrucian Egyptian Oriental Museum, San Jose 19 May 1944–16 Jun 1944
- Hamline University, St Paul 01 Dec 1944–17 Dec 1944
- Society Liberal Arts, Joslyn Memorial, Omaha 06 Jan 1945–27 Jan 1945
- Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, United States of America 06 Feb 1945–27 Feb 1945
- Quincy Art Club, Quincy 09 Mar 1945–30 Mar 1945
- Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City 13 Apr 1945–04 May 1945
- University of Oklahoma, Norman 14 May 1945–04 Jun 1945
- North Texas State Teachers' College, Denton 14 Jun 1945–05 Jul 1945
A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953
Sydney Harbour 1794-1979, S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 03 Aug 1979–26 Aug 1979
Big Blue - the painted harbour (1997), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 21 Jun 1997–29 Mar 1998
Expanse: Aboriginalities, spatialities and the politics of ecstasy, Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, 04 Sep 1998–03 Oct 1998
Harbour, Museum of Sydney, Sydney, 05 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Thoroughly modern Sydney, Museum of Sydney, Sydney, 01 Jul 2006–15 Oct 2006
Referenced in 19 publications
Herbert Badham, A study of Australian art, Sydney, 1949, (illus.). plate no. 40
Herbert Badham, A gallery of Australian art, 'Introduction', pg. v-vii., Sydney, 1954, xiii, (illus.). plate no. 27
Caroline Butler-Bowden, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Art deco, modern life and the internationalism of Sydney', pg. 140-143, Sydney, 2013, 141 (colour illus.), 217, 314, 323.
Alan Close, Reader's Digest, 'Ode to Sydney', 29-31., Sydney, Sep 2000, 29 (colour illus.).
Alan Close, Good Weekend, 'Ode to Sydney', pg. 55-56, Sydney, 15 Apr 2000, 55 (colour illus.).
Peter Emmett, Sydney: metropolis, suburb, harbour, 'Harbour', pg. 123-124, Glebe, 2000, 151, 152 (illus.).
Ernestine Hill, Australia Land of Contrasts, Sydney, pre 1949, (colour illus.).
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 145 (colour illus.).
Barbara Konkolowicz, Look, 'Big Blue Sydney Harbour Through The Eyes of Artists', pg. 20-21, Heidelberg, May 1997, 20 (colour illus.).
Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. cat.no. 62
Hal Missingham, A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. cat.no. 143
Ian North, Expanse: Aboriginalities, spatialities and the politics of ecstasy, Adelaide, 1998, frontispiece (colour illus.), 26.
Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Earth, sky and paint', pg. 149-150, Sydney, 2000, 152 (colour illus.), 301.
John Slater, Through artists' eyes: Australian suburbs and their cities 1919-1945, 'Continuity and change', pg. 35-70, Melbourne, 2004, 65, 66 (colour illus.). illus.no. 48
Howard Tanner and Inara Walden, Thoroughly modern Sydney: 1920s and 30s glamour & style, Sydney, 2006, 10. List of works.
The Brett Whiteley Studio (Editor), Big blue: the painted harbour (list of works), Sydney, 1997.
Sydney Ure Smith (Editor), Art of Australia 1788-1941, New York, 1941, 41. cat.no. 87
Kenneth Wilkinson (Editor), Art in Australia [series 3, no. 70], Sydney, Mar 1938, 35 (colour illus.).
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Home annual: Australian life and scenery, Sydney, Oct 1938, 29 (colour illus.).