Maurice Prendergast USA
10-10-1858 St. Johns, CAN - 2-1-1924 Boston, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Maurice Prendergast and his twin sister, Lucy, were born at their family's subarctic trading post in the city of St. John's, in Newfoundland, then a colony in British North America. After the trading post failed, the family moved to Boston. He grew up in the South End and was apprenticed as a youth to a commercial artist. This conditioned him from the start to the brightly colored, flat patterning effects that characterized his mature work.
Maurice Prendergast studied in Paris from 1891 to 1895, at the Académie Colarossi with Gustave Courtois and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant and at the Académie Julian. During one of his early stays in Paris, he met the Canadian painter James Morrice, who introduced him to English avant-garde artists Walter Sickert and Aubrey Beardsley, all ardent admirers of James McNeill Whistler. A further acquaintance with Édouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard placed him firmly in the Post-Impressionist camp. Prendergast was additionally one of the first Americans to espouse the work of Paul Cézanne and to understand and utilize his expressive 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 experiment with even more complex and rhythmic arrangements. His inventive watercolors of Venice are among his most appreciated works today. He showed in a National Arts Club exhibition in 1904, through which he befriended the painters William Glackens, Robert Henri, and John French Sloan. He exhibited with them in 1908 at Macbeth Galleries, along with George Luks, Everett Shinn, and Arthur B. Davies, a group collectively known after the show as The Eight. Glackens in particular became a lifelong friend.
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.
His ties to The Eight did not necessarily help his reputation in the long run. A true independent, Maurice Prendergast fits into no particular category of modern American art.
Art Movement: Post Impressionism
Influences: Childe Hassam, Paul Cézanne, Gustave Courtois, Benjamin-Constant
Traveled: USA, France, Italy