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Maurice Brazil Prendergast

October 10, 1858 - February 1, 1924


Maurice Brazil Prendergast was a modernist and post-impressionist American painter who adapted the styles of many prolific European artists to create his own colorful, tapestry-like works. Maurice Brazil Prendergast was born in Newfoundland on October 10, 1858, and spent the majority of his youth in Boston. He lived as a bachelor and remained extremely close with his younger brother Charles throughout his life. Both he and Charles finished their formal education by the age of fourteen and then proceeded to work several jobs. By the time Maurice Brazil Prendergast was 28, he worked as a card designer, developing his love for watercolors. In 1891 he would go to Paris and study under John Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian. Three years later he would return to Boston as an accomplished painter whose work had been influenced by Degas, Manet, Whistler, and other prolific European Impressionist and post-Impressionist artists. Maurice Brazil Prendergast’s work was first exhibited in 1896, then was presented in a one-man show in 1897, and from there, his work would be consistently displayed. including in the famous exhibition of the “Eight” in 1908, an exhibition of American painters united to protest against the conservative tendencies and styles of the National Academy of Design and the groundbreaking 1913 Armory Show. Maurice Brazil Prendergast would spend the last ten years of his life working in a studio in Washington Square in New York until his death on February 1, 1924. In love with life and movement, Maurice Brazil Prendergast was a frequent painter of parks, cafes, and other highly public spaces. His paintings often included a large number of figures in a mosaic-like composition. Maurice Brazil Prendergast’s later works were more abstract, using geometric daubs of color to convey different shapes and objects. Overall, his paintings can be described as wistful and elegant, full of bright, youthful charm.

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