|Frank Montague Moore was an Englishman who gained fame as a painter and muralist in Hawaii and California in the early part of the twentieth century.
Moore was born in Taunton, England in 1877 and studied at the Liverpool School of Art and the Royal Institute before immigrating to the U.S. in 1903. By 1910, he had established himself as a painter in New York where he studied with Henry Ward Ranger.
In 1922, Moore went to Hawaii where he opened a gallery, the Cross Roads Studio, in Honolulu.* In addition to his own and his contemporaries’ work, he occasionally exhibited English and European master prints.
Perhaps his cosmopolitan view attracted the attention of the Cooke family, who were patrons and promoters of the arts in Honolulu at the time. In any event, they chose him to be the first director of the Honolulu Museum of Art in 1925. His first act was to change the name of the museum to the Honolulu Academy of the Arts, to reflect its mission as an educational institution as well. Ironically, Moore resigned from his position in 1927, before the Academy building was completed.
Not just an administrator, Moore was a painter noted for his use of color and his moon light scenes. He did a series of murals of moonlit seascapes for the Blaisdell Hotel in Honolulu, and exhibited several paintings with similar themes in Maui in 1923. Maui was a magnet for Moore; he traveled there several years in a row both to exhibit and to sketch for future paintings.
After many years in Hawaii, Moore moved to California in 1928. Upon settling there, he was commissioned to do forty-one scenes of California for the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. He worked in both Pasadena and San Francisco before moving to Carmel and becoming a specialist at portraying the rugged beauty of the Monterey Peninsula coast.
Moore died in Carmel in 1967.
*Some sources state Moore moved to Hawaii in 1910, and worked first as a purchasing agent for Hawaiian plantations.
Sources include: WWAA; Forbes: Encounters With Paradise; Hughes: Artists in California 1786-1940.