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Maurice Prendergast

American Painter

Maurice Prendergast Photo

Born: October 10, 1858 - St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Died: February 1, 1924 - New York City, New York

"The best painting isn't done by boys. It's the work of mature men."

Summary of Maurice Prendergast

Through his trips to Europe, Prendergast encountered and absorbed many new ideas relating to the practices and production of art. He took these with him back to the USA where he incorporated them into his own work to create a unique and personal style which helped to introduce and popularize Modernism in America. Prendergast continued to develop his art throughout his life, trialing new mediums and experimenting widely with notions of color and form. Fascinated by people and busy scenes, his work is reflective of contemporary ideas pertaining to health, leisure, and the benefits of the outdoors and he often presented a utopian take on the sights he painted.

All of his work contained a sense of energy and motion. In addition, his paintings became increasingly abstract as his career progressed.

Key Ideas

Prendergast drew inspiration from the work of European Post Impressionists and he was a leading figure in introducing these new concepts and styles to American audiences. He was particularly interested in color and his use of bold pigments make a vibrant statement throughout his work, highlighting emotional and pictorial elements.
Although working in a range of mediums including oils and monotypes (a print taken from a design created in oil paint or printing ink on glass or metal), he often painted with watercolors and is known for his expertise with these, particularly his flowing technique and unusual use of strong colors.
The majority of Prendergast's work depicts scenes of contemporary life, focusing on groups of people in outdoor locations - the street, beach and park. He was particularly interested in painting women and captured fashionable clothing and accessories with a keen eye for detail. The themes of his work inspired later generations of artists to record leisure activities in a similar manner.
Prendergast created a large number of monotypes and the dissemination of these helped to promote the idea of fine art color prints to the wider public.
Maurice Prendergast Photo

Maurice Prendergast was born to an American mother and Canadian father at the family's sub-Arctic trading post in St John's, Newfoundland.

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