Maurice Brazil Prendergast American, 1858-1924
Prendergast’s work in both watercolor and oil bridges the styles of the 19th and 20th centuries, pushing through a late American Impressionism, through an Ashcan-influenced urbanism, to a highly modern view. His late work incorporated elements of the fantastical, but the heart of his career, from the early 1900s to the teens, was marked by his unique surface patterning of patches of brilliant color. Although he exhibited among The Eight in 1908, Prendergast was distinctly more cosmopolitan than his cohort, advancing a modernist aesthetic that would wash aside the gritty urbanism with the Armory Show. Along with his brother, Charles, Maurice also made a significant contribution to the world of fine art framing, among the most esteemed of their day. Prendergast was highly sought after by major collectors of the first half of the 20th century, and indeed his work formed part of the core collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Barnes Foundation.