Peter Moore

Secretary to Dalí implicated in forgery of his works


John Peter Moore, art collector and businessman: born London 1919; married Catherine Perrot; died Port Lligat, Spain 26 December 2005.

The flamboyant businessman Peter Moore made his name, and subsequently became embroiled in scandal, as secretary to the Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. Moore worked as Dalí's right-hand man for 20 years, accompanied him on his world tours, and became a pivotal figure in his colourful entourage. As Dalí became ill and bedridden, Moore assumed control over the artist's activities, and oversaw the mass production of his works that damaged Dalí's reputation. He was known as "Captain Moore", following service in the Army - when he claimed to have worked with Winston Churchill on secret wartime operations.

Scandal hit in October 2004, when he was convicted of reworking Dalí's 1969 painting The Double Image of Gala, and displaying it in his own gallery as a newly discovered work. The painting, one of many Dalí made of his wife and muse, Gala, had been stolen from New York's Knoedler Gallery in 1974 and the FBI and Interpol hunted for it in vain for years. Radically altered, chopped down and renamed Dalí Painting Gala, the painting was found in 1999 in the art centre that Moore ran jointly with his wife in Port Lligat.

Police seized the painting and searched Moore's home and workshops, where they found 10,000 faked Dalí lithographs. Moore was detained, but released because he was 85. He and his wife Catherine Perrot were convicted of "damaging the moral rights of the author", but a Spanish court took no further action because of Moore's age and his fragile mental state. The couple were instead ordered to pay some £670,000 compensation to the Dalí-Gala Foundation, which cares for the painter's legacy, and to pay for the restoration of the damaged painting.

Born in London of Irish origin, and educated in France, Moore lost his parents in a road accident when he was 14. He remained under the guardianship of a tutor until at 20 he joined the Army and became, he reckoned, a more confident person. After a distinguished wartime career, he left the service in 1946. By the Fifties, he was working in Rome for the British film company London Films under Alexander Korda. He first met Dalí in Rome in 1955. Korda was working on the film Richard III, starring Laurence Olivier, and wanted Dalí to paint a portrait of the actor in the title role to publicise the film. He sent Moore to Dalí to negotiate payment for the work, and the two men hit it off. Moore kept the oil painting for 45 years until the Dalí foundation bought it for $500,000 in 2000.

Dalí hired Moore as his full-time personal representative in 1964, and offered him 10 per cent commission on all business generated by the artist's graphic works. The pair launched upon an extravagant and glamorous life style - Moore liked to be photographed petting his tame ocelot - and Moore accumulated an important collection of the artist's works.

According to Dalí's biographer Ian Gibson, Moore felt pressed to earn his 10 per cent by exploiting to the full his talent for rapid business deals. "It was the beginning of a slippery slope, through which Dalí's reputation as an artist declined with alarming rapidity with his own consent," Gibson wrote in The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí (1997). Moore encouraged Dalí to authorise the mass production of lithographs, some sold as originals. Some carried forged signatures; others were blank sheets signed by Dalí on which lithographs were later printed. A thriving parallel trade in fake Dalí lithographs developed.

Moore insisted the works were genuine, but became embroiled in legal suits over alleged forgeries and unauthorised reproductions. "I have no need to make fakes," he once said. "I have all the original Dalís I could possibly want. This is all the result of envy." He later sold much of his collection. Many of the works were bought by the Dalí foundation; 400 were auctioned in Paris in 2003 for €4.5m.

Gibson, who knew Moore, described him as "great fun", but led astray by Dalí's avarice. "Dalí was cruel and heartless, immersed in his sleazy world, and everyone who ever worked with him got corrupted eventually," said Gibson.

Elizabeth Nash

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there