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
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor