Alan Moore, Australian war artist, died at 101

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76i7i867ui7678Alan Moore, born on August 1, 1914 and died September 24, 2015, he was an Australian war artist during World War II.

He is best known for his images of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Alan was born in Melbourne in 1914. He began life drawing art classes at age 16, but was forbidden by his father from continuing because the subjects were nude.

He took up his studies again when he turned 18, at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, this time completing his studies to obtain a degree. He also studied under J.S. Watkins in Sydney.

He won several art and drawing prizes in Melbourne, including the Grace Joel scholarship prize in 1942 for a nude painting.

On 14 July 1939 Alan married this first wife, Maria.

Alan enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1942, where he was tasked with drawing airplane diagrams.

A problem with one leg prevented him from being in the aircrew. In late 1943, following recommendations from William Dargie and Harold Herbert, he was commissioned as an official war artist attached to the army, and given the rank of lieutenant.

Alan’s first deployment as an artist was with the RAAF in Papua New Guinea in early 1944.

His earlier watercolour paintings, made in Milne Bay and Goodenough Island, were destroying by wet weather and humidity; he subsequently changed to working with oils, which were more suitable for the tropical environment.

During his time in Papua New Guinea he flew in several bombing raids to make sketches from the air.

Throughout World War II, he recorded war scenes from Papua New Guinea, the Middle East, Italy, England and Germany.

In 1945 Alan accompanied the British 11th Armoured Division when they liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.

He spent three days sketching and painting the state of the camp, its prisoners and their captors, including Fritz Klein.

It was suggested by one soldier that nobody would believe the protrayals, prompting Alan to also photograph the scenes as proof.

After the war finished, Alan returned to Melbourne, where he painted images from his Belsen sketches and photographs.

He tried but failed to sell them. The Australian War Memorial initially rejected the material because it did not depict Australian soldiers, however it accepted them in 1969 when they were donated by Alan .

In 2013–14 the Belsen images formed the basis of a year-long exhibition at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, which Alan himself visited at the invitation of the Memorial.

The War Memorial also commissioned Alan to paint several large portraits, including of Generals Douglas MacArthur and Arthur Samuel Allen.

The War Memorial now holds more than 200 of his works.

After the war Alan spent some years in Europe.

He taught painting at Swinburne Technical College from c. 1963.

Alan continued to paint at his studio in Avoca until he was 95, stopped by arthritis and failing vision.

At about the same time he moved into a nursing home in Avoca.

Alan Moore died on 24 September 2015, survived by his third wife, Alison.

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