Charles Prendergast (1863-1948)
Angel, ca. 1915
watercolor and gold leaf on wood with incised and painted base
Williams College Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Charles Prendergast, 86.18.22
Charles’s carved and gilded sculptures are some of his simplest and most attractive works. Five are believed to date from the 1910s, when he is known to have included at least one in an exhibition in New York.
Angel is an engaging figure that relates to Charles’s “celestial period” of panel painting (ca. 1912-25) featuring Christian symbolism. It is possible that Charles may not have executed this figure, but instead acquired it in Italy and subsequently mounted it onto a base of his own design. Thus, the Angel’s place in Charles’s work is important in illustrating his version of the “appropriated” or “found” object, and as the likely inspiration for his own gilded figurines.