Details
MAURICE BRAZIL PRENDERGAST (1859-1924)
Scene of Venice
signed 'Prendergast' (lower left)
watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper
15 1/4 x 20 1/2 in. (38.7 x 52.1 cm.)
Executed circa 1911-12
Provenance
C.W. Kraushaar Gallery, New York.
Mr. and Mrs. William Laporte, Passaic, New Jersey, acquired from the above, 1927.
Parke-Bernet, New York, 30 March 1944, lot 58, sold by the above.
Ned L. Pines, acquired from the above.
Estate of the above.
Sotheby's, New York, 29 November 1990, lot 46, sold by the above.
Acquired by Ann and Gordon Getty from the above.
Literature
C. Clark, N.M. Mathews, G. Owens, Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Charles Prendergast: A Catalogue Raisonné, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1990, p. 467, no. 1033, illustrated.
Exhibited
Williamstown, Massachusetts, Williams College Museum of Art, Prendergast in Italy, July 18-September 20, 2009, pp. 86-87, fig. 106, illustrated.

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Lot Essay

Maurice Prendergast's Italian urbanscapes are among his most acclaimed works. In the early 1890s, the artist studied in Paris and adopted the Impressionist interest in painting the daily life of the leisure class. In 1898, he visited the captivating city of Venice, which had already become a highly popular tourist destination. A tourist himself, Prendergast took interest in the magnificent architecture and incorporated the city's colorful façades and fanciful bridges into his depictions of strolling crowds. Scene of Venice depicts a view of the ponte connecting Campo San Vio on the right to the Galleria di Palazzo Cini, slightly visible on the left, with the Grand Canal running perpendicular in the background. Noted art historian and Prendergast scholar Nancy Mowll Mathews writes, "By far the most extraordinary aspect of the Italian watercolors is Prendergast's use of detailed architectural structures as decorative backdrops for the parade of human life seen throughout the tourist's Italy at the turn of the century…he made it plain in his pictures that he has come as a tourist and aimed to capture the excitement of tourist haunts." (Maurice Prendergast, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1990, p. 17) Indeed, Prendergast's distinctively modern approach set his works apart amongst the many other artists painting Venice at the time, and garnered him sensational critical acclaim. Exemplary of his Venetian watercolors, Scene of Venice incorporates the artist's celebrated use of color and modern form in his unique interpretation of a classic subject.
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