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Luxembourg Gardens

Maurice Brazil Prendergast

Artwork Details

Luxembourg Gardens
circa 1907
Maurice Brazil Prendergast
oil on panel
14 x 16 13/16 in. (35.56 x 42.55 cm);9 x 12 in. (22.86 x 30.48 cm);14 x 16 13/16 x 1 5/16 in. (35.56 x 42.55 x 3.2 cm)
Gift of Charles H. and Katharine C. Sawyer


March 28 2009
Throughout his career Prendergast, an artist accomplished in many media, including printmaking, book illustration, and graphic design, was occupied with painting the urban middle class busily engaged in the life of the city. Prior to a five-month trip to France in 1907, he painted many outstanding watercolors of such scenes in his native Boston and in Venice. After the trip he began to execute similar subjects in oil on panel, as here, or on canvas. With this change in medium his work became increasingly experimental; his subject was still the city, but his observations of social life had become subsumed in his interest in color and surface pattern. In Luxembourg Gardens, the artist uses broad, rapidly executed brush strokes to represent Parisians strolling through one of the city’s most famous parks. The panel is loosely painted, and portions of it are left exposed. The deep colors, ambiguous space, flattened treatment of forms, and vigorous handling of paint result in a dynamic composition in which the play of formal elements is as important as the subject.

Subject Matter:

View of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris executed in bold, horizontal brushstrokes. Prendergast’s true subject was color, rapidly painted in distinct patches and rhythmically arranged on the canvas to give surface pattern to the composition with little attempt at illusionistic space.

Physical Description:

Outdoor scene of a park setting with small figures and an urn atop a stone column-like form in the left foreground rendered in bold, flat, horizontal patches of color in browns, greens and whites.

Usage Rights:

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