Lot 70
  • 70

Maurice Brazil Prendergast

600,000 - 800,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Maurice Brazil Prendergast
  • The Deer Park
  • signed Prendergast (lower left)
  • oil on canvas
  • 23 1/4 by 32 1/2 inches
  • (59.1 by 82.6 cm)
  • Painted circa 1914-15.


Charles Prendergast (the artist's brother), 1924
Mrs. Charles Prendergast (his wife), 1948
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1967
Private collection, Florida, 1967
Steven Straw, Newburyport, Massachusetts
Kennedy Galleries, New York, by 1979
Milton and Adriene Porter, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1980 (acquired from the above)
Owen Gallery, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2006


New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Paintings and Watercolors by Maurice Prendergast: A Loan Exhibition, November 1966, no. 56, illustrated
Beverly Hills, California, Petersen Galleries, Exhibition and Sale, March-April 1978
New York, Kennedy Galleries, The Eyes of America: Art from 1792-1979, May 1979, no. 26, illustrated


Fairfield Porter, "The Prendergast Anomaly," Art News, 65, November 1966, pp. 38-39, illustrated
Carol Clark, Nancy Mowll Mathews and Gwendolyn Owens, Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Charles Prendergast: A Catalogue Raisonné, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1990, no. 418, p. 304, illustrated 


The canvas is lined with metal strips attached around the edges. Under UV: there are a few small spots of inpainting in the sky near upper left and upper right edges, otherwise fine.
In response to your inquiry, 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 Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Painted circa 1914-15, The Deer Park was executed after Prendergast's influential 1907 trip to Paris, where he encountered works exhibited by the French Post-Impressionists and the Fauves. While Prendergast was inspired by many of these revolutionary artists, it was Paul Cézanne who had the most significant impact on the artist and his subsequent work. Before leaving Paris, Prendergast wrote to Mrs. Oliver Williams, a friend from Boston, "I have been extremely fortunate in regard to the exhibitions, not only in the spring with the Salons but Chardins, Fragonard, etc. and the delightful fall exhibitions which last during the month of October. They have all Paul Cezannes [at the Salon d'Automne]... Cezanne gets the most wonderful color, a dusty kind of a grey. And he had a water color exhibition late in the spring which was to me perfectly marvelous. He left everything to the imagination. They were great for their symplicity [sic] and suggestive qualities... I was somewhat bewildered when I first got over here, but I think Cezanne will influence me more than the others. I think so now" (Nancy Mowll Mathews, Maurice Prendergast, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1990, p. 25).

The Deer Park fully incorporates Prendergast's new ideas about color and form, yet also returns to a theme he explored throughout his career–fashionable members of the leisure class enjoying themselves in an idyllic landscape. Like the Post-Impressionists, Prendergast emphasized the flatness of the picture plane, dividing the composition into horizontal bands of color and creating a mosaic-like design. He "applied a carefully worked out color scheme in small dabs of paint. The result is an overall open surface pattern that allows the light colors...underneath to shine through for a glowing luminous effect" (Ibid., p. 27).

Around 1914, Prendergast began to include fairy-tale-like elements in his compositions and this growing interest in fantasy is evident in The Deer Park where deer amble among the crowd. The artist's innovative mosaic of brushstrokes and use of vibrant, jewel-toned color further heightens the atmosphere of animation and delight. A contemporary critic reviewing works of this period wrote, "[Prendergast] is a serious and humble student of design, and marshals line and color into patterns of some intimacy and much interest. ...his work has rhythm and beauty and a quaintness of humor that go far to inveigle the ordinary observer into acceptance of an extraordinary piece of craftsmanship" (Ibid., p. 35).