The Promenade

Maurice Prendergast (American, 1858 - 1924)

circa 1910. Oil on canvas, 28 x 40 1/4". 1931.244

Maurice Prendergast studied art in Paris between 1891 and 1895. There, under the influence of Impressionism and post-Impressionism, he acquired a love of color and of two-dimensional design, and he developed a preference for scenes of middle-class leisure. With a daring that few American artists of his generation displayed, Prendergast developed a style based on patches of vivid color— some dragged over others to weave a bright, tapestry-like surface. One incensed critic, affronted by, among other things, the consistent absence of facial features in Prendergast’s works, proclaimed that the artist’s paintings looked like nothing more than “an explosion in a color factory.” Here, a gathering of vacationers by the shore becomes a modern idyll, inspired by the artist’s annual visit to the coast of New England.

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