Maurice Brazil Prendergast, a U.S. Post-Impressionist artist, was born on October 10, 1858 in St. John’s, a city in Newfoundland, Canada. At the age of 10, Prendergast moved to Boston with his family. In the mid-1870s, he was an apprentice to a painter of show cards. From his experience in his apprenticeship he began working with watercolor, which remained his principal medium until 1900 when he turned to oil painting. He later worked as a letterer, sign painter, poster designer, and worked at beach resorts in the Boston area during the late 1880s.
In 1891, Marice Brazil Prendergast went to Paris, where he attended the Academie Julian in Paris with Jean Paul Laurens. He also studied at the Academie Colaross in Rome with Blane, and later at the Canadian J.W. Morrice in Paris. He became familiar with Symbolism, Art Nouveau, and Nabis painting through his friendship with James Wilson Morrice. In 1894, he returned to the United States and settled in Winchester, Massachusetts. He began exhibiting there, in New York, at the Chicago Art Institute, and at the Cincinnati Art Museum. In 1907 Prendergast traveled back to Paris, taking inspiration from Paul Cezanne and Henri Matisse, leading Fauve artists.
An acquaintance with Édouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard placed him in the Post-Impressionist group. He created paintings with bold contrasting, jewel-like colors, and flattened, pattern-like forms. His paintings have been described as resembling mosaics.
In 1913, Prendergast was an organizer of the Armory Show, where he displayed seven works. He was a member of the New York Water Color Club, Copley Society, Boston Water Color Club, Guild of Boston Artists, American Painters, the Society of Independent Artists and the New Society of Artists. Prendergast was technically a member of The Eight; however his compositions had little in common with the philosophy of the group.
Prendergast died in New York City on February 1, 1924.