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Maurice Brazil Prendergast Biography
American Impressionist painter,
illustrator, printmaker, designer &
Maurice Brazil Prendergast
was born in Saint John's, Newfoundland, to a shopkeeper who moved the family to
Boston in 1868.
Prendergast was born in St. John's,
Newfoundland, but grew up in Boston. Maurice
Brazil Prendergast first visited Paris in 1886, and returned
there in the winter of 1890-91, staying
three years and studying at the Colarossi
Academy and the Academie Julien.
By then, of course, Impressionism was a completely established and accepted style in Paris, and the new tendencies with which alert art students had to contend were Symbolism, Neo-Impressionism - Seurat, Signac, and their followers - and the painting of Gauguin, Bonnard, Vuillard, and the circle of the Nabis or "Prophets," such as Serusier and Maurice Denis. Prendergast enthusiastically absorbed their basic doctrine that a painting, before representing anything, should be perceived as a flat surface covered with ordered patches of color.
He wasn't much interested in Impressionist
"atmosphere"; Maurice Brazil Prendergast artist evolved a brilliant,
sparkling watercolor technique in which the
surface became a mosaic of rotund, swirling
forms, laid close side by side, with deep
perspectives that nevertheless had an air of frontality.
The results, as in one of Venetian Maurice Brazil Prendergast watercolor, Ponte della Paglia, 1898-99, were effervescent. his color, clear, direct, and laid on very wet, coalesces in the bubble forms of open parasols red, Prussian blue, beige, white which echo the hues of the buildings, the Grand Canal, and the sky. The sense of luminosity that Venice confirmed in Maurice Brazil Prendergast works stayed with him in later years, as his compositions became more friezelike and abstract, with their rag doll people enacting scenes from modern pleasure spots which are at the same time rendered archetypal in all but the modern dress of the figures: beach, park, promenade. The color is opalescent and subtle, the paint surface like that of a thickly plied tapestry. On the Beach, No. 3, c. 1915, is typical. - Maurice Brazil Prendergast oil painting America and biography.
man steeped in art history and thus in the
repertoire of figure poses, was able to give
the people on their summer outing a variety
of posture and gesture that humanizes their
otherwise faceless and schematic bodies: it
sets up a gently flowing movement through
the frieze, in which memories of Seurat's
Grande Jatte mingle with others of Cezanne,
Matisse, and, perhaps, of
Francesca. Such a Maurice Brazil Prendergast painting, obviously, has
nothing to do with Impressionism. It is an
intelligent and sensitive response to the
Post-Impressionism that Maurice Brazil Prendergast
encountered in Paris on his later trips, but
without the jar and dissonance of Fauve
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