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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New-York Historical Society Exhibits Maurice Prendergast Sketchbook

Maurice Prendergast's Sketchbook (pp. 2-3), 1922. Maurice Prendergast's Sketchbook (pp. 2-3), 1922. New-York Historical Society

The New-York Historical Society is exhibiting a recently acquired sketchbook of drawings and watercolors by the Post-Impressionist American artist, Maurice Prendergast (1858-1924). The sketchbook, which is from the final years of the artist’s life, features 152 lined and paginated leaves. The volume includes many seaside scenes and park views populated by figures in endless variations.

Dr. Roberta J.M. Olson, curator of drawings at New-York Historical, said, “We are thrilled to add this volume of sketches to the collection of the New-York Historical Society, which holds the oldest public drawings collection in the United States. This sketchbook offers keen insights into Prendergast’s creative output during his final years and the intense graphomania that he demonstrated throughout his career.”

The sketchbook is currently on view in the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture. For preservation reasons, the watercolors require turning ever three months. The sketchbook’s 152 pages can be seen in their entirety on a nearby digital monitor thanks to turn-the-page technology.

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