American Art

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Maurice Brazil Prendergast

View Along New England Coast

Auction Closed

November 22, 10:23 PM GMT


100,000 - 150,000 USD

Lot Details


Maurice Brazil Prendergast

1858 - 1924

View Along New England Coast

signed Prendergast (lower right)

watercolor, pencil and pastel on paper

sheet: 15 ¾ by 22 ½ inches (38.9 by 57.5 cm)

framed: 26 ½ by 33 ¼ inches (67.3 by 84.5 cm)

Executed circa 1920-23. 

The artist
Charles Prendergast, 1924 (his brother, by descent)
Private collection, Westport, Connecticut, 1946 (acquired from the above)
By descent to the present owner
Carol Clark, Nancy Mowll Mathews and Gwendolyn Owens, Maurice Prendergast, Charles Prendergast: A Catalogue Rasionné, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1990, no. 1325, p. 531 (as French Beach Scene)
Although later mistitled French Beach Scene, the present work depicts a view along the New England Coast. Following Prendergast's final trip to Paris in 1914, he and his brother Charles moved to New York and spent their summers traveling to various coastal towns around New England, focusing on Marblehead, Nahant, and Gloucester. Always with a sketchbook, Prendergast captured scenes of leisure activity along the coast in towns with his characteristic and unique style, which he developed during his years spent in Europe studying works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Mattise and Georges Seurat. In the present work, the figures along the shore are painted with bright strokes of color to suggest form and movement. 

As Nancy Mowll Mathews notes, "The gradual development of Prendergast's late style, which was essentially 'synthetic,' may be a belated response to his earliest experiences in Paris as a student in the early 1890s, when both Symbolism and Pointillism were current. The overriding formal, compositional, and decorative character of the style is rooted in Post-Impressionism, but particular elements have specific sources. For instance, it is difficult to conceive of Prendergast's touche technique, which surfaces in many different guises from the early small dots and balloon spots to the later daubs and dashes, without some conscious reference to Seurat, Signac, and Pointillism. These technical modes became the basis for what is generally referred to as his 'mosaic' or 'tapestry' style" (Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Charles Prendergast: A Catalogue Raisonné, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1990, pp. 21-22).