Maurice Prendergast (1859-1924) was a Canadian-born American painter whose work spanned the transition from Impressionism to Modernism. I found this press release about an upcoming exhibition, Prendergast in Italy, that sounds quite interesting especially since it will be at the Guggenheim in Venice next fall and winter. I like his watercolors but have never seen any of them in person; if I end up returning to Venice later this year, I’ll definitely go see this show. Most of the paintings included in the exhibition are of Venice but there are also views of Rome, Siena, and Capri.
The exhibition opens on July 18, 2009 at Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, MA, where it runs until September 20. From the WCMA website:
"Prendergast in Italy traces the footsteps of Maurice Prendergast as he painted his way through Italy in 1898-1899 and through Venice again in 1911. Approximately seventy watercolors, oils, and monotypes by Maurice Prendergast will be on view, along with related letters, prints, photographs, films, guidebooks, and sketchbooks to situate the work within the new visual culture that Americans had embraced by 1900."
Here's the schedule after Williamstown:
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (October 9, 2009-January 3, 2010)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (February 14-May 9, 2010.)
A few of his Venetian scenes (I don't know if these are in the show or not, they are just some that I like).
Campo Santa Maria Formosa
From the press release:
"Maurice Prendergast made a name for himself in Boston and New York as a cutting edge Impressionist watercolorist who experimented with color monotypes. In his day, he was lauded by the more progressive art critics and attracted the support of modern art collectors. When he first departed for Italy (1898), he was an up-and-coming avant-garde artist who had recently returned to Boston from four years in Paris.
The body of work that Prendergast produced shows his struggle to pay homage to the great art he encountered in Assisi, Siena, Rome, and Venice while he grappled with the new realities of modern, unified Italy and the progressive art of his time.
Prendergast's interpretation of Venice captures a unique blend of old and new. Watercolors from his first trip to Italy are characterized by Prendergast's interest in the Italian flag and how it symbolized a "new" Italy; he depicted it many times during this first trip. These works were sent home and exhibited in Boston even while he was still abroad. In 1900, shortly after his return to America they were showcased in his first one-person show.
It was the Italian watercolors that catapulted Prendergast to a national reputation and a place among the most advanced artists in New York. Ten years later, after assimilating the new expressionistic and abstract art theories unveiled in Paris by Matisse, Picasso, and their circle, Prendergast again departed for Italy (1911). On his second trip, Prendergast focused on the bridges of Venice, applying his new style to the emblematic architecture of the canal city. This body of work shows the advances of abstract color and form that put Prendergast at the forefront of American modernism."
Here's a link to
The Complete Works