Colorful Celebrations of Public Life : Notes on Maurice Prendergast

Oct. 10 is the birthday of an American artist whose vibrant paintings can give us a welcome little escape from the stresses of pandemic life.

Prendergast, “The Grand Canal, Venice,” c. 1898–9. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection,
Prendergast, “Salem Willows,” 1904. Terra Foundation for American Art. Image in public domain.
Prendergast, “Central Park,” 1901. Whitney Museum. Wikimedia copy of image in public domain.
Prendergast, “Handkerchief Point,” 1896–7. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Image in public domain.
Prendergast, “Umbrellas in the Rain,” 1899, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Image in public domain.
Photo of Prendergast in public domain via Wikimedia. Credit. Gertrude Käsebier
Prendergast, “West Church Boston, “ 1900–1. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Image in public domain.
Prendergast, “Sunlight on the Piazzetta,” 1888–9. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Prendergast, “Still Life,” 1910–13. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Image in public domain.
Prendergast, “Picnic,” c. 1913–6. Phillips Collection. Image in public domain.

Gritty Urban Realist?

Descriptions of Prendergast’s career often highlight his participation in a 1908 show of work by a group known as the Eight.

Prendergast, “Franklin Park Boston,” 1895–7. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image is in public domain.
Prendergast, “The Mall, Central Park,” c. 1900/1903. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art. Image in public domain.
Everett Shinn (American, 1876–1953). Fifth Avenue, 1910. Brooklyn Museum. Image in the public domain.
Bellows, “Cliff Dwellers,” 1913. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Image in public domain.
Duchamp, “Nu descendant un escalier n° 2/Nude Descending a Staircase,” 1912. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Wikipedia copy of image in public domain.
Prendergast, “Landscape With Figures,” c. 1912. Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, Utica, New York. Image in public domain.
Prendergast, “ Idyll,”c. 1912–5. Barnes Foundation. Image in public domain.

Journalist fascinated by art, food, justice, politics, history and business. Has visited museums on six continents, eaten in more than 60 nations.

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