American, 1858-1924

"Beach Scene, Boston", ca. 1907-1910

oil on panel
10 3/8 x 13 3/4 inches

  • Provenance: The artist; to Charles Prendergast, 1924; to Mrs. Charles Prendergast, 1948; to (Larry Shar), 1980; ACA Galleries, New York, New York; Collection of Mrs. Alice Mason, 1983; Coe Kerr Gallery, Inc., New York, New York; Adelson Galleries, Inc., New York, New York, 1995; Private Collection, Maryland
  • Literature: Carol Clark, Nancy Mowll Matthews, and Gwendolyn Owens, "Maurice Brazil Prendergast / Charles Prendergast: A Catalogue Raisonne", (New York: Prestel Pub., 1990), p. 258, cat. no. 228 (illus.).
  • Notes: This work was originally the verso of "Springtime, New England", (cat. no. 181) until separated ca. 1980.

    Framed dimensions: 18 x 21 1/8 x 2 1/4 inches

    Prendergast's work in both watercolor and oil bridges the styles of the 19th and 20th centuries. He pushed through a late American Impressionism and an Ashcan-influenced urbanism to a highly modern view. His late work incorporated elements of the fantastical, but the heart of his career, from the early 1900s to the teens, was marked by his unique surface patterning of patches of brilliant color.

    Although he exhibited among The Eight in 1908, Prendergast was distinctly more cosmopolitan than his cohort, advancing a modernist aesthetic that would wash aside the gritty urbanism exhibited at the Armory Show. Along with his brother, Charles, Maurice also made a significant contribution to the world of fine art framing, becoming highly esteemed in their day. Prendergast was highly sought after by major collectors of the first half of the 20th century, and his work formed part of the core collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

    Prendergast's representations of daily life are bold and modern interpretations of themes that have attracted artists for generations. His work is characterized by elaborately choreographed, multi-figured panoramas developed throughout his career.

    Whereas other members of The Eight painted mainly New York City scenes, Prendergast often painted the bathers at public beaches around his native Boston. In the present lot, Beach Scene, Boston, beachgoers are gathered around a bench picnicking and socializing. In the water, there are sailboats visible in the distance.

    Beach Scene, Boston reveals the influence of modern European masters such as Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse on Prendergast's style. Prendergast traveled extensively throughout Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and adapted the innovations of these artists to develop his characteristic and unique style.

    Of his works from the same decade, Prendergast scholar Richard J. Wattenmaker notes "are the culmination of more than thirty years of patient and determined exploration, trial and error, wholly personal variations on subjects that have captivated the most subtle and sophisticated minds of the Western tradition since the dawn of the Renaissance. Prendergast's comprehensive experiments within this humanistic tradition bring to bear his unique adaptations of ideas from both East and West. If modern painting is primarily about extending the boundaries of color and color relations, Maurice Prendergast has a stature that guarantees him an important place in the pantheon with the masters he so admired and whose ideas he so richly repaid."1

    1 Maurice Prendergast, (New York, New York: Abrams, 1994), p. 143-5.

    Tags: oil painting, listed artist, Boston
  • Condition: in overall very good condition; a few small dots of restoration; additional UV photos available upon request

    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. 

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