In his depictions of daily life, Maurice Prendergast interprets his themes with a bold style that becomes increasingly more modern over his career, and culminates in the brilliantly colored and dynamic imagery presented here, in The Pavillion. Prendergast's art, which was eagerly sought after by many of the most avant -garde collectors of his day, is often composed as an elaborate, multi-figured panorama. In a careful balance of light and shadow, as well as brilliant, even jewel-like colors, The Pavillion is a tour-de-force of Prendergast's creativity and spirit. The vivid and lively surface of the work, executed in 1910, is a hallmark of the artist's most distinguished art. Here he presents dashing, curving expanses of color, combined in a rhythmic pattern that is a splendid example of the artist's mature style, and an impressive example of his experimentation with the combined mediums of watercolor and pastel. Using watercolor to broadly define his subject, Prendergast adds a rich surface of pastel color, keying up his palette, and adding a dynamic element of visual drama.
The transformation of Prendergast's earlier and tighter technique, in which he employed only watercolor, to a much more fluid and modernist style as seen in The Pavillion is generally credited to his fourth trip to Europe in 1907. While in Paris he studied the works of Signac, Cézanne and others including the controversial works of Matisse shown at the Salon d'Autonne.
While in Paris in 1907, Prendergast was invited to join a group exhibition to be mounted the following year at the William Macbeth Gallery in New York. Also invited to the landmark show were the artists who would come to be known collectively as The Eight. Stylistically Prendergast's work was far more advanced than the others, indeed his work was the most advanced produced by any American at the time, and he agreed to contribute seventeen paintings to the exhibition.
Richard J. Wattenmaker notes that Prendergast's works from this decade are "the culmination of more than thirty years of patient and determined exploration, trial and error, wholly personal variations on subjects that have captivated the most subtle and sophisticated minds of the Western tradition since the dawn of the Renaissance. Prendergast's comprehensive experiments within this humanistic tradition bring to mind his unique adaptations of ideas from both East and West. If modern painting is primarily about extending the boundaries of color and color relations, Maurice Prendergast has a stature that guarantees him an important place in the pantheon with the masters he so admired and whose ideas he so richly repaid." (Maurice Prendergast, New York, 1994, pp. 143-5).