Art Of The Day
To celebrate such spring, take a look at Maurice Brazil Prendergast's painting of the season!
On October 10th in 1859, Prendergast was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. However, his family relocated to Boston when he was a child. Intent on becoming an artist, Prendergast was constantly sketching and studied art abroad in England and Paris in 1886 with his brother. Upon returning to Boston, he pined to go abroad again and worked menial jobs in order to save up the $1000 needed to go back to Europe. In 1891, he reached his goal, and Prendergast went to Paris to study at the Académie Julian.
When he came back to America in 1894, Prendergast was an accomplished watercolorist, yet his primary means of making money came from the frame making shop he owned with his brother until 1905. Prendergast’s fame quickly picked up, however, and he was a part of the famous exhibition of “The Eight” that took place in 1908 and was a protest against the conservative values of the National Academy of Design. As his fame grew, Prendergast participated in numerous significant exhibitions throughout his lifetime such as the Armory Show in 1913, a show we've discussed in previous posts!
Never a true Impressionist, Prendergast did have distant affinities with the movement.
With expressionistic intensity, Prendergast’s watercolors rely on pure, loosely distributed color, and such freeness implies form, movement, and texture. Springtime is characteristic of these attributes and the fact that Prendergast typically had large numbers of characters in his pieces, as it depicts numerous figures milling and lounging about a park that is bordered by houses. While some figures sit and other stand, all have been created with a free, yet skillful, hand, and movement is clearly seen in those that appear to be walking around.
Wouldn’t you like to be relaxing in a park right now?
Research contributed by Olivia von Gries, a 2nd year student working towards a psychology and studio art double major.
Collins, Billy. “Today.” Poetry Foundation. Accessed February 11, 2017.
“Maurice Brazil Prendergast Biography.” MauriceBrazilPrendergast.org. Accessed February 11,
“Prendergast Chronology.” WCMA.Williams.edu. Accessed February 11, 2017.