Heckscher Museum of Art
Huntington, Long Island, NY
Maurice Prendergast: The State of the Estate
June 19 through August 29, 1999
Spring Promenade, c. 1910-11, watercolor and pencil on paper
In its major summer show, the Heckscher Museum of Art will be exhibiting approximately 45 vividly colorful oils, watercolors and other works on paper by turn-of-the-century American artist, Maurice Prendergast. Prendergast is esteemed as an interpreter of the avant-garde styles of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist eras. Maurice Prendergast: the State of the Estate was organized by the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA, and supported in part by the Arts Sharing Consortium funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Eugénie Prendergast Trust.
All of the works included in the Prendergast exhibition are drawn from the collection of the Williams College Museum of Art which over the past 15 years has received some 250 of the prolific artist's works from his estate. Many of the works in the Williams College collection are private visual statements, kept by Prendergast as sentimental favorites and thus reveal a more personal aspect of the artist. The selection on view at the Heckscher will include figurative representations of festive park and seashore scenes and depictions of coastal villages. It was Prendegast's receptivity to new ideas which led him to experiment with a wide range of subjects and approaches, ranging from children's art to an idyllic late Romanticism.
Maurice Brazil Prendergast was born in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1858. He moved to Boston as a child. In 1891 he arrived in Paris to begin his artistic studies at the Académie Julian. His travels to Italy were financed by art patron and artist Sarah Sears of Boston. Following this first European stay, he captured the attention of progressive critics and collectors with watercolors executed in an updated impressionist style. Regarded by then as a leading Boston artist, Prendergast's first one-man New York show was in 1900. In 1913, as president of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, he was among the organizers of the landmark Armory show, a celebrated exhibition which offered this country its first extensive view of European and American modernist art. Prendergast was represented in the Armory show with seven works. By the time he died, in 1924, works by Prendergast had begun to enter museum collections. His popularity continues to this day, his engaging subjects evoking nostalgic thoughts of another time as his brilliant colors delight the eye.
In conjunction with Maurice Prendergast: The State of the Estate, the Heckscher Museum of Art is offering a schedule of workshops, discussions and other events which serve to illuminate the works on view. Among the programs is a lunchtime illustrated discussion by art historian Donald Dwyer on Monday, July 19, 1999 called In a Brighter Light: American Impressionism and Prendergast.
Read more in Resource Library about the Heckscher Museum of Art. Read an earlier article in Resource Library about Maurice Prendergast: The State of the Estate from Williams College Museum of Art.
For further biographical information on the artist cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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