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Moore's Novels and the Impressionists.

George Moore introduced French Impressionists (who had been his friends) to English readers. But he also drew upon particular Impressionist paintings for scenes in his novels. Here are a few examples.

Manet, Bar at the Folies Bergere.jpg

Manet and Spring Days (1888)

Frank from Sussex falls in love with Lizzie, who works in a London bar: "Behind the counter the young ladies stood in single file, and through odours of cigarettes and whiskey their voices called 'One coffee in order.’ He walked to where Lizzie was serving; soldiers were ordering drinks of her, so he was obliged to apply to the next girl for his brandy and soda....(Behind Lizzie, who is talking with a soldier drinking porter) there were shelves charged with glasses and bottles, gilt elephants, and obelisks, a hideous decoration; she passed up and down with cups of coffee, she filled glasses from various taps…’  Compare the portrait of  Méry Laurent in The Bar at the Folies Bergère (1882), one of Manet’s greatest paintings.


Edgar Degas and Esther Waters (1894)

As in the racecourse scenes painted by Edgar Degas, in the novel’s rendering of Derby Day, the race is out of sight.  Esther only gets a glance at the last race and, from her angle, it is seen through “a multitude of hats”; the few horses “passed like shadows” (267). Pictured here is Degas' At the Races   (1876 -77).


Camille Pissaro and Esther Waters

When Esther goes to the country to visit the family of Fred Parsons, Moore paints an idyllic scene of cooperative tranquil family apple picking, just as in Pissarro’s Apple Picking at Éragny-sur-Epte (1886).

Claude Monet, Sunrise, 1897.jpg

Claude Monet and Celibates (1896)

Claude Monet and Celibates (1896): “[T]hey saw the morning light silver the water, the light mist evaporate, and the trees on the other bank emerge from vague masses into individualities of trunk and bough” (pp 64-65). Compare Misty Morning on the Seine, Sunrise (1897 81x92cm oil/canvas, private collection).

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