Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Salon: A Favorite Painting or Two or.....Three!

Riva Degli Schiavoni, Italy

The Porch with the Old Mosaics, St. Marks, Venice

St. Marks, Venice

Venetian Canal Scene

Piazza St. Marks

Fiesta - San Pietro In Volta, Venice


Venetian Palaces on the Grand Canal

Venice 3

Umbrellas in the Rain

Ponte della Paglia

Ponte della Paglia done in a quite different style, probably in oil.

The Ocean Palace

Beach Scene at St. Malo

Chateaubriand's Tomb, St. Malo

St. Malo - Number 2

Central Park

The Mall, Central Park

Madison Square, New York

Children at the Beach

Children On A Raft

Promenade at Nantasket

Boston Harbor

Franklin Park, Boston

Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1856 - 1924) worked in several different styles in watercolor, oils and monotype which is a form of print-making. Some of his work has the Impressionist look though he did not consider himself an Impressionist painter. Post Impressionist was a better fit.

The artist was born in Newfoundland, but his family moved to Boston when he was ten. After high school, Maurice worked as a clerk in a dry goods store while studying drawing at night. Soon he was lettering posters and sketching local sights. He and his brother Charles, traveled to England in 1868, working on a cattle boat.

Upon their return to Boston, the brothers worked to save a thousand dollars for Maurice to go to Paris. In 1891, Maurice made the trip and began studying with Jean Paul Laurens at the Academie Julian. He stayed there three years during which his talent for watercolor was finely developed.

Maurice returned to America in 1891, an accomplished artist. While in Europe, he'd been influenced by Manet, Whistler, Degas, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as well as Japanese art. When you study his work it's easy enough to see all these influences and more. Though Maurice Prendergast took all he'd learned and seen and developed his own unique way of interpreting the world.

The Clock Tower

He traveled to Venice in 1898 and there he produced some of his more beautiful watercolors. Here's a quote from his biography webpage which I particularly like: watercolors that were included in the celebrated Armory Show in 1913 revealed Prendergast as a major figure in American painting, probably the greatest of his generation. He was perhaps the first to deliberately abandon a primarily representational approach to art and to let the subject matter be dominated by purely artistic means.

Maurice Prendergast continued to paint and exhibit here and abroad. He and his brother eventually moved to New York City where, despite increasingly poor health, Maurice spent the last ten years of his life working in a studio in Washington Square.

To learn more about the painter Maurice Prendergast and to see much more of his work, please use this link.  Another good bio is available here.

Maurice Brazil Prendergast


  1. The two Venetian Canal paintings and the promenade scene with the dogs in the foreground are the ones I liked best. The promenade painting shows families on the waterfront having a little fun and fresh air, a scene that is so typical of people crowding the waterfront or seaside on Sundays even today. I can picture Prendergast dabbing (right word?) the canvas with his brush to create these fine paintings.

  2. I really love Maurice Brazil Prendergast's work, never seen it before. Thanks for the introduction.

  3. What beautiful, colorful, vibrant paintings. You've put together a really fine selection of Maurice Prendergast's work, Yvette. Count me as one of his new fans...

  4. Venice is the most magical place I've been to.

  5. I'm sure I have to have heard of Prendergrast before but I can't recall the name...or the works.I'm sure I would have remembered them! They are glorious!

  6. You've picked another of my favorites. I love his art and because a lot of it is of my beloved and much missed Boston / New England, I get particular joy from it. Our last trip was an anniversary week in Venice twelve years ago, so those paintings of his also bring back happy memories.

    For those interested, Daedalus Books has a beautiful book called Prendergast in Italy for $ 9.99.. Lovely and well worth the small price.

  7. Boy, I have MISSED Saturday Salon. I'm so glad I'm back online to see it! If I could find one, I would buy a print of the steps of the church with the mosaics -- beautiful. I also loved Children at the Beach. I'm not usually partial to watercolors, although there are some I love, but these are extraordinary. Thanks for the beauty, know how to pick them!

  8. I forgot to tell you -- if I had a print of every painting I love that I've seen on here, I would now be hanging them on the ceilings and gluing them to the floor! LOL!

  9. Prashant: I can imagine him as well. He traveled a great deal and seemed to have had a special fondness for Italy.

    'Dabbed' is the right word. :)

  10. Rosemary: You're welcome! I'm glad you found his work to your liking. :)

    I love it too.

  11. Lady Eve: We can all be fans together. :)

    Aren't these paintings wonderful? I think the Italian watercolors are my favorites, but it's hard to choose.

  12. Patti: Unfortunately, I've never been there. But I hear that from everyone I know who HAS been there.

    I only travel there through Donna Leon's books.

  13. We are in agreement, Lisa. They ARE glorious, so full of life and color and movement.

  14. Joan: Thanks for the tip on the Prendergast book. It's now on my 'definites' list.

    You are so fortunate to have traveled to Italy, Joan. It's a dream of mine. :)

  15. Welcome back to the Salon, Becky!

    I love watercolors - such a difficult medium to do well. Prendergast was a master at it. I'm glad you, at least, like his. :)

    Yes, Children in the Water is an especially fine one. I love it.

    I ran out of wall space a long time ago. Now, if I want to hang something new, I have to take something old off the wall and put it away for the time being. I would love to have a poster of one of the Prendergasts...I'm thinking about it.

  16. Hi, Yvette - I was familiar with the American scenes by Maurice Prendergast, but had never seen his paintings of Italy! I particularly admire his canals of Venice.

  17. I loved the paintings of Venice, just one more reminder that I'd love to be there, sitting in a trattoria drinking cappuccino and eating biscotti, with a novel featuring Guido and Paola Brunetti, and the

  18. Mark: Yes, after studying the paintings for a while, I think if I had a chance to own one, it would be the Palaces on the Grand Canal.

    But it's so hard because I kind of love them all. :)

    Our artists fan club is expanding!

  19. I always feel like the last kid to show up after the tardy bell. I really love some of these. Thanks for sharing.

  20. You're welcome, Ryan. You know you're always welcome around these parts. First, last or in-between. :)


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