American Post-Impressionists: Maurice & Charles Prendergast

Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Salem, 1913—15, Oil on canvas, 14 1/2 x 18 1/4 inches, Harriet Russell Stanley Fund


American Post-Impressionists: Maurice & Charles Prendergast

Stitzer Family Gallery

Travel in time to the early 20th century when Maurice and Charles Prendergast revolutionized American art. Inspired by European styles, the brothers challenged traditional artistic conventions, propelling the American Post-Impressionist movement and contributing to the evolution of American Modernism. American Post-Impressionists: Maurice & Charles Prendergast features over 100 works, including paintings, sculptures, frames, sketchbooks, photographs, letters, and tools drawn from the permanent collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art and the Prendergast Archive & Study Center at Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA, which houses the largest Prendergast collection in the world.

American Post-Impressionists originates with Maurice’s early works of the 1890s, executed during his studies in Paris, and follows his return in 1894 to the United States. Represented are paintings produced in his subsequent travels to Italy, France, Maine, Massachusetts, and beyond, demonstrating the artist’s interest in the avant-garde techniques of Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse, and his evolution toward a more abstracted depiction of figures and landscape, leading to his reputation as the “First American Modernist.” Charles Prendergast’s works on view will include hand-carved frames and sculptures as well as his idiosyncratic paintings, which diverge from Maurice’s compositions in their pared-down, folk art aesthetic.

This exhibition explores the unique artistic rapport shared by the brothers and traces the development of their work throughout their careers as well as their involvement in major movements of 20th century art, including Post-Impressionism and the Arts and Crafts movement. Friends, collaborators, travel companions, and studio mates, Maurice and Charles encouraged and promoted each other’s work, fashioning for themselves a life of culture and opportunity, exhibiting in prestigious shows nation-wide, and establishing their positions as masters of Modern Art.


American Post-Impressionists is on view through June 10, 2018, in the Stitzer Family Gallery and Robert & Dorothy Vance Gallery.

This exhibition is made possible by the generosity of the Special Exhibition Fund donors, including John N. Howard, Sylvia Bonney, Anita Arcuni Ferrante and Anthony Ferrante, Brendan and Carol Conry, The Aeroflex Foundation, and Pierre and MaryEllen Guertin. We also gratefully acknowledge the funding of Kelly and Jonathan Jarvis, Susan and John Rathgeber, The West Family, and Carolyn and Elliot Joseph.

Additional support for American Post-Impressionists: Maurice & Charles Prendergast is provided by the Bailey Family Fund for Special Exhibitions, Anita Arcuni Ferrante and Anthony Ferrante, the Kathryn Cox Endowment Fund for Special Exhibitions, Ascend Laboratories, Dr. Timothy P. McLaughlin and Dr. Marian Kellner, Sharon and David Jepson, and Nancy and David Zwiener.