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Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1859-1924)
Property from the Estate of Richard J. Schwartz
Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1859-1924)

Buck's Harbor

Details
Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1859-1924)
Buck's Harbor
signed 'Prendergast' (lower left)
oil on panel
9 ¾ x 13 ½ in. (24.8 x 34.3 cm.)
Painted circa 1907-10.
Provenance
The artist.
Charles Prendergast, brother of the above, 1924.
C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, New York, 1931.
Sidney Levyne, 1957.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York, 1978.
Meredith Long & Company, Houston, Texas, 1970.
Private Southwestern collection, acquired from the above, 1971.
Sotheby's, New York, 1 December 1994, lot 35.
Samuel B. and Marion W. Lawrence Collection, acquired from the above.
Christie's, New York, 29 November 2007, lot 147, sold by the above.
Acquired by the late owner from the above.
Literature
C. Clark, N.M. Mathews, G. Owens, Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Charles Prendergast: A Catalogue Raisonné, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1990, p. 242, no. 137, illustrated.
Exhibited
New York, C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings and Watercolors by Maurice Prendergast, October-November 1930, no. 8.
Toronto, Canada, Art Gallery of Toronto, An Exhibition of Paintings by Maurice Prendergast, October 1931, no. 21.
New York, C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, Maurice Prendergast, April 1933, no. 3.
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Maurice Prendergast Memorial Exhibition, February-March 1934, no. 35.
Houston, Texas, Museum of Fine Arts, Sunlight on Leaves: The Impressionist Tradition, June-August 1981, no. 29.
Winter Park, Florida, Rollins College, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, The Independents: The Ashcan School & Their Circle From Florida Collections, March 9-May 5, 1996, p. 69, no. 44, illustrated.
New York, Hollis Taggart Galleries, The Color of Modernism: The American Fauves, April 29-July 26, 1997, no. 64.
St. Petersburg, Florida, Museum of Fine Arts, In the American Spirit: Realism and Impressionism from the Lawrence Collection, March 21-June 13, 1999, pp. 18, 21-22, 82, 84, no. 32, illustrated.

Lot Essay

Buck's Harbor belongs to an important body of work executed after Maurice Prendergast's pivotal trip to Paris in 1907. Painted circa 1907 to 1910, the present work exhibits Prendergast's predilection for capturing glimpses of picturesque crowds leisurely strolling along the tranquil New England shoreline expressed in a modern style uniquely his own. Considered the first American to champion the art of Cezanne in America, Prendergast found profound inspiration in the work of the Post-Impressionist masters which, despite his self-taught background, played a significant role in his painting career from 1907 onward.

Depicting mid-day strollers and picnickers along the Maine shoreline, Buck's Harbor poignantly illustrates Prendergast's particular approach to composition, color and brushwork. Keenly aware of the Post-Impressionist's aesthetic attitudes of composition and space, Prendergast uses an array of devices to emphasize the flatness of the surface, which in turn heighten the overall decorative effect. In addition to its purposeful arrangement of composition, Buck's Harbor is enhanced by a powerful use of color and a bold display of brushwork. The saturated green of the trees and landscape along with the crystalline blue of the sea and sky creates a backdrop from which emerges a resplendent display of contrasting yet brilliant color. This color scheme is applied in a variety of overlapping brushstrokes that are fluid, but tactile. In Buck's Harbor, these variations in brushwork and color are freely expressed an enhance the textural quality and jewel-like pattern of the work.

Buck's Harbor illustrates the artist's lifelong interest in observing urbanity at rest as well as his passion for color and composition. Bringing together several of Prendergast's favored devices and tools, this extraordinary oil reveals the artist's highly personalized approach to subject and style.

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