Montclair Art Museum
Maurice Prendergast: The State of the Estate
St. Malo, 1907, watercolor, pencil and gouache on paper,
from the collection of the Williams College of Art, gift of Mrs. Charles Prendergast
American modernist Maurice Prendergast (1838-1924) is the subject of an exhibition at The Montclair Art Museum, which opens Tuesday, May 19, 1998, and runs through Sunday, August 16, 1998. More than 40 oils, watercolors, drawings, sketchbooks, monotypes, letters, photographs, and other professional and personal memorabilia from the estate of Maurice Prendergast offer a private view of this artist.
Over the last 15 years, about 250 works from the estate of Prendergast were given to the Williams College Museum of Art whose curator Nancy Mowll Mathews (Eugenie Prendergast Curator) has organized this exhibition. Consisting of works left in the artist's studio at his death in 1924, the selection at MAM includes sketches, abandoned ideas, themes that captured the artist's fancy, and objects kept as sentimental favorites.
The abundance of scenes of the New England coast in Prendergast's estate suggests Prendergast produced more than he could sell. Another large group of works depict fantasy subjects - a tangent that did not sustain the artist's or the public's interest. However, Prendergast also kept some of his favorite pieces for his own collection, such as the Italian watercolors painted in 1898-99 and the large idyllic oils. By viewing this diverse collection of paintings and drawings, viewers have the opportunity to perceive Prendergast's creative process: the methods, personal whims, vulnerabilities, hopes, and failures.
Maurice Prendergast: The State of the Estate is partially funded by the Williams College Museum of Art's Prendergast Trust and is touring through a generous grant from The Henry Luce Foundation. Funding for all Museum programs is made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, PNC Bank and Museum members.
Text and image courtesy of Montclair Art Museum.
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