Jane Glaubinger Curator of Prints
Maurice Prendergast (American, 1858-1924)
monotype in oil colors, Sheet: 30.5 x 24.8 cm (12 x 9 3/4 in.); Image: 17.4 x 13.1 cm (6 13/16 x 5 1/8 in.); Platemark: 25.5 x 20 cm (10 x 7 13/16 in.). Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1954.337
Like Edgar Degas, Prendergast was a skilled and devoted practitioner of monotype, a technique he began to investigate in Paris about 1891 or 1892, perhaps having seen examples of the French artistâ€™s work in this medium. He was influenced by the flattened space and emphasis on surface pattern of ukiyo-e (Japanese color woodcuts) as well as the etchings of James McNeill Whistler, who used ink left on the surface of the printing plate to create evocative atmospheric effects. Prendergast produced beautiful colored monotypes documenting the pastimes of stylish urbanites. Bastille Day, one of the few works that can be dated to the artistâ€™s early years in Paris, distills the scene of lanterns illuminating the boulevards to an almost abstract composition of reflective colored light and bustling crowds.
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