Maurice Prendergast Biography | Oil Paintings

10-10-1858 St. Johns, CAN - 2-1-1924 Boston, Massachusetts USA

Prendergast, Maurice

Maurice Brazil Prendergast was born in the subarctic trading post in the city of St. John's, in Newfoundland, a colony in British North America, the family moved to Boston when he was two years old. He grew up in the South End and finished school when he was fourteen and was apprenticed to a commercial artist, this molded him from the begin to the brightly colored, flat patterning effects that characterized his mature work.

Maurice Prendergast and his brother Charles Prendergast in 1886 worked on a cattle boat that went to England and they took a side trip to Paris. In 1891 they had saved up $1,000 (equal to $25,000 today) for a return to Paris, Maurice studying at the Académie Colarossi with Gustave Courtois and at the Académie Julian with Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant from 1891 to 1894. During his stay in Paris, he met the Canadian painter James Morrice, who introduced him to English avant-garde artists Walter Sickert and Aubrey Beardsley, all admirers of James McNeill Whistler and further acquaintances with Édouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard placed him firmly in the Post-Impressionist camp. Prendergast was one of the first Americans to champion the work of Paul Cézanne and to understand and use his use of form and color.

A trip to Venice in 1898 exposed Maurice Prendergast to the genre scenes of Vittore Carpaccio and encouraged him to explore different avenues regarding more complex and rhythmic arrangements. His creative watercolors of Venice are among his most appreciated works today. During his exhibit at the National Arts Club in 1904, he becomes friends with the artists William Glackens, Robert Henri, and John French Sloan. In 1908, he again exhibited with them at the Macbeth Galleries, where he befriended George Luks, Everett Shinn, and Arthur B. Davies. The group became known as The Eight.

His association to The Eight, of which five of the members painted in the Ashcan realism style, did not help his reputation in the long run. A true independent, Maurice Prendergast fits into no particular category of modern American art, his art seen as too demanding and advanced for the time.

His seven works at the landmark Armory Show of 1913 presented examples of his stylistic maturity. Seen in company with the most adventurous examples of Post-Impressionism and Fauvism. Many of Prendergast's paintings have a look of stained glass, in the respect that they are brightly colored with dark outlines of the shapes of people or objects. In his later years, because of deafness, Maurice Prendergast was increasingly isolated.

Art Movement: Post-Impressionism.
Artists Influencing Maurice Prendergast: Childe Hassam, Paul Cézanne, Gustave Courtois, Benjamin-Constant.
He Traveled To USA, France, Italy,
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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