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'Prendergast in Italy' at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection - Oct 10 2009 - Jan 3 2010
For the first time in Italy, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection pays tribute to the American artist Maurice Prendergast (St. John’s, Canada, 1858 – New York, USA, 1924) hosting the exhibition “Prendergast in Italy” (October 10, 2009 – January 3, 2010).
Maurice Prendergast spent his youth in Boston where, like his contemporary the Impressionist Childe Hassam, he began his career in graphic design. In 1891, he travelled to Paris determined instead to become a painter. He studied at the Julian and Colarossi academies and became acquainted with the art of the Nabis and Whistler. Upon his return to the States in 1894 he had his first successes as an artist. By the time of his death in 1924, Prendergast was celebrated as one of the most important American Modernists of the early 20th century, and in particular the first to respond to the post-Impressionist art of Cézanne.
This exhibition assembles more than sixty of the paintings, watercolors, oils, and monotypes that Prendergast made during his two trips to Italy. In June 1898 he travelled to Italy staying there for 18 months visiting Venice (the main focus of his trip), Padua, Florence, Siena, Assisi, Orvieto, Rome, Naples, and Capri, returning late in 1899. He returned in August 1911-January 1912 and again visited Venice. The exhibition features a corpus of unique works dedicated to Venice, represented by the artist with evocative views of its modern, daily life. Prendergast was attracted to its modernity—to wealthy visitors in fashionable dress, to processions and feste which were in part the expression of historic tradition and in part a response to international tourism. Prendergast chronicles la Serenissima with Impressionist, picturesque views crowded by colourful pedestrians walking through calli, campi and bridges. On view, in addition to his watercolors and oils, archival materials, such as photographs, letters, guidebooks and travel advertisements belonging to the Prendergasts, create a strong impression of Italian topography, manners and society c. 1900. Furthermore, two Japanese prints on view show the influence by Japanese coloured woodcuts - whether of landscape or urban scenes - by Kuniyoshi and Toyokuni.
Taken as a whole, Prendergast’s Italian works are, arguably, the most visually sumptuous and aesthetically challenging pieces he ever produced and their presentation in Italy where they were created offers a new point of interest, and contributes to the comprehension of what characterized Modernism in the early 20th century and of the role Prendergast played in the development of Modern art in America.
The exhibition - curated by Nancy Mowll Mathews, Eugénie Prendergast Senior (Curator of 19th and 20th Century Art) and Elizabeth Kennedy (Curator of Collection, Terra Foundation for American Art) - is organized by Williams College Museum of Art in partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art (lead sponsor).
Open (shows and permanent collections), 10am - 6pm. Closed Tuesday. Admission € 12,00 (discounts € 10,00).
Tags: PICTURES EXHIBITION