The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY
Parks and Promenades: Maurice Prendergast in The Metropolitan Museum of Art
July 25, 2000 - October 22, 2000
"Parks and Promenades: Maurice Prendergast in The Metropolitan Museum of Art" will present Maurice Prendergast (1858-1924) as painter, watercolorist, draftsman, and book illustrator. Gathered from the holdings of the Metropolitan Museum's Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, Department of Drawings and Prints, and Robert Lehman Collection, the exhibition will be the first to present the Museum's entire collection of Prendergast's work. Cursory pencil drawings of incidental Parisian life; luminous, large-scale watercolors from the Large Boston Public Garden Sketchbook (1895-97); and oil paintings of recreational activities on the Massachusetts shore and in New York's Central Park will chronicle a lifetime of plein-air observation. On view July 25 through October 22, 2000, the exhibition will feature some 70 works, including many of Prendergast's most acclaimed watercolors, which, because of their sensitivity to light, have not been shown together for more than a decade. (left: Central Park, probably painted between 1908-1910, oil on canvas, 20-3/4 x 27 inches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, George A. Hearn Fund, 1950 50.25; right: A woman passing a café, Folio 44 recto from Large Boston Public Garden Sketchbook, 1895-97, watercolor over pencil on paper, 14-1/16 x 11-3/16 inches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 1975.1.967)
Prendergast's highly finished Boston Public Garden watercolors glimpse those intimate details of daily life - mothers and children, idlers and strollers - all fleetingly observed in one of America's iconic19th-century urban landscapes. Watercolors of the bustling seaside playgrounds near Boston, of the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto bridge in Venice, and of other leisurely locales trace the artist's travels both in the U.S. and abroad. A jubilant spirit also characterizes the exhibition's oil paintings depicting lively vignettes of horses and carriages, promenading ladies with parasols, and children at play. (left: Piazza di San Marco, watercolor and graphite on white wove paper, 16-5/8 x 15-5/16 inches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Estate of Mrs. Edward Robinson, 1952 52.126.6)
Prendergast, whose career coincided with Boston's preeminence in printing and publishing in the 1890s, also worked briefly as a commercial illustrator. The exhibition will feature several of the artist's book designs, advertisements, and - his most ambitious publishing enterprise - the provocatively illustrated My Lady Nicotine: A Study in Smoke by J. M. Barrie.
The exhibition is organized by Dita Amory, Assistant Curator, Robert Lehman Collection, in collaboration with H. Barbara Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Curator, and Dana Pilson, Administrative Assistant, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture. (left: A mother sitting at the edge of a pond with her baby and young daughter, Folio 30 recto from Large Boston Public Garden Sketchbook, 1895-97, watercolor over pencil on paper, 14-1/16 x 11-3/16 inches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 1975.1.953)
The Robert Lehman Collection catalogue, "American Drawings and Watercolors in the Robert Lehman Collection," will be available for purchase in the Museum's bookshops. Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the scholarly catalogue fully illustrates the Large Boston Public Garden Sketchbook, acquired by Mr. Lehman from Mrs. Charles Prendergast in 1961.
The exhibition is made possible by Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc.
Readers may also enjoy The Art of Leisure: Maurice and Charles Prendergast in the Williams College Museum of Art (6/16/00)
Read more about the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine
Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.
For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/2/11
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