Maurice Prendergast: By The Sea

Yesterday I paid a visit to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine with my lovely friend Sam. Their summer exhibition, “Maurice Prendergast: By The Sea,” has had rave reviews in our community, so I was more than happy to see it.

My art history knowledge is limited, but I found Prendergast’s work to be unique, lively, and the perfect relief from this summer heat. The paintings are done in the Impressionist style. Most are watercolor which lends a light, luminous quality to the works. The oil pieces were equally as impressive, but there was something more organic and inspired about the way watercolor captured the energy of the coastal scenes.

But what I found to be the most rewarding and exciting portion of this show was Prendergast’s sketchbooks. They appealed to my recent interest in watercolor sketching and gave a glimpse into how art involved itself in Prendergast’s life when he wasn’t working on large paintings. He would even dedicate annual trips to the New England coastline for sketching and painting. Williams College has digitized his sketchbooks, which I was very excited to find. As we were gazing in awe at these books, Sam said: “I just really need to get in there and turn all the pages.” Now she can, and you can too!

The show is up until October 13th. You can find more information about the exhibit and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art here.

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