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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Louis van Gaal
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own