Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American, St. John’s, Newfoundland 1858–1924 New York)
Oil on canvas
20 3/4 x 27 in. (52.7 x 68.6 cm)
George A. Hearn Fund, 1950
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 772
Prendergast captured the park’s festive energy on a summer day and suggested, with broad horizontal bands, the tripartite traffic system that accommodated carriages, horses with riders, and pedestrians. The painting, once titled "Central Park in 1903," may have been begun in that year and later reworked. It shows women in the types of dresses and hats that were stylish in 1903 and horse-drawn carriages as opposed to the automobiles and bicycles that appeared shortly thereafter. Prendergast’s dense pigments, juxtapositions of complementary colors, and whirls of form indicate the influence upon him of contemporary Synchromist painting.
Signature: [at lower right]: Prendergast
the artist's brother, Charles Prendergast, Westport, Connecticut, ca. 1924–at least 1934; with Kraushaar Galleries, New York, by 1938–1950