Maurice Prendergast grew up in Boston and worked as a letterer of pictorial show cards. He did not seek formal academic training until he was in his early thirties when he went to Paris and enrolled in the Académies Julian and Colarossi. During his three years in the French capital, Prendergastʼs emerging style was most significantly shaped by Japanese prints, Art Nouveau, and the art of James McNeill Whistler and the Nabis artists. The pointillist style of Georges Seurat was an inspiration to Prendergastʼs figure paintings.
As a recorder of public activity, his signature theme was the crowd, and his figures are anonymous. Prendergastʼs remote, disengaged viewpoint, which is in contrast to the viewpoints of his American contemporaries, John Sloan and William Glackens, is again reminiscent of French Impressionism. Prendergastʼs colorful paintings have a mosaic or tapestry-like quality related to pointillism. They present flat, bold areas of color combined with a compression of perspective and scale. His oeuvre is unique in American art.
Paintings and works on paper by Prendergast are well represented in most major public art collections throughout the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; and the Saint Louis Art Museum, MO.
Selected Exhibitions with Somerville Manning Gallery
2015 American and European Masters – Art of the 19th-20th Centuries
2014 American and European Masters – Art of the 19th-21st Centuries
2013 American and European Masters – Art of the 19th-21st Centuries
2012 American Masters – Art of the 19th-21st Centuries
2012 American Masters – Art of the 19th and 20th Centuries
2011 American and European Masters
2009 American Masters