Maurice Prendergast’s Work Helped to Set New Record at Christie’s

Maurice Prendergast brought modernism from Europe to America, around the turn of the twentieth century, while still maintaining his own unique style.

Maurice Prendergast’s Work Helped to Set New Record at Christie’s

Last month, Christie’s New York auctioned American art from the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection. Maurice Prendergast’s Steps of Santa Maria d’Aracoeli, Rome was expected to go for $1,500,000 to $2,500,000 and realized $3,372,500.

Maurice Prendergast
Steps of Santa Maria d’Aracoeli, Rome c. 1898-1899

The Art of the Americas Evening sale was the most successful American art sale in Christie’s history, with  sales totaling $106,883,500.

The Many Influences on Maurice Prendergast

Maurice Prendergast was a shy man and was fortunate to have a supportive and more adventurous younger brother. Charles Prendergast was four years younger than Maurice, and was not only a painter but a custom woodworker whose picture frames were coveted by great artists of the day.

Charles Prendergast. c. 1910 (left) Maurice Prendergast, c.1901 (right)

The brothers traveled to Paris in 1886, returned home to Boston to save some money, then returned to Paris in 1890 to study at the Colarossi Academy and the Academie Julien.

They stayed in Europe for three years, at a time when Impressionism was evolving and art students were exploring new ways to put paint on canvas. A group of avant-garde students, who studied at the Academie Julien with the Prendergast brothers, set the tone for modern art in France and became known at Les Nabis. The members of Les Nabis, including Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard, gave Prendergast the support he needed to experiment with different materials and techniques.

Ironically, Prendergast met, and admired, American artist James McNeill Whistler in Paris, whose ideas and stark, monochromatic works were creating much stir and conflict among art critics in Europe and the U.S.

Prendergast took all he had learned and created a style of his own, using vibrant colors to create scenes of crowds taking part in leisure activities of contemporary life.

Maurice Prendergast
On the Beach, St. Malo, c.1907
Oil on panel
8 1/4 x 13 inches
Signed: Prendergast (l.r. in brown)
For sale at Surovek Gallery

Prendergast worked in oils and watercolors and created prints of such good quality that he elevated the medium of fine art print.

Maurice Prendergast at Surovek Gallery

Please contact us for more information about On the Beach, St. Malo or any of the other fine work available at the Surovek Gallery.

See More Work from Maurice Prendergast

2021-03-18T17:24:03-04:00 June 6th, 2018|

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