A message from Bowdoin College Museum of Art Curator Joachim Homann:
The Bowdoin College Museum of Art is finalizing the installation of its major summer exhibition, Maurice Prendergast: By the Sea. The festive opening will kick off at 5 p.m. this Saturday, June 29, with a lecture by Nancy Matthews, leading Prendergast scholar and co-curator of the exhibition, in Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center. A public reception for all ages will be held at the Museum of Art at 6 p.m. Bowdoin students will provide activities for kids.
In the last four weeks, the downstairs galleries underwent a stunning transformation. Museum staff painted each gallery in a different hue that supports Prendergast’s palette. Praised as jewel-like, the artist’s watercolors and oil paintings have always delighted viewers with their daring color harmonies. They have never looked better than in the upcoming exhibition that invites viewers to immerse themselves into Prendergast’s colorful world.
In the last two weeks, the Museum received a stream of art trucks — 15 in total — from all over the country and welcomed couriers from 7 lending institutions with many of Prendegast’s most celebrated art works. More than 30 public and private collections contribute to this first Prendergast retrospective in 23 years, including the National Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art: de Young, and many others.
Bowdoin will be the only place to see this extraordinary show. In the 1890s Prendergast built his reputation as an enormously talented watercolorist and he continued to work in this fleeting medium throughout his career. To this day his watercolors are cherished but rarely exhibited because of their extreme light sensitivity. Maurice Prendergast: By the Sea will not travel to another venue to avoid over-exposure of these delicate works. Prendergast aficionados and fans of Post-Impressionist art will have to come to Bowdoin to see this carefully edited group of 36 gorgeous watercolors, 32 oil paintings, and additional works in various media.
To round out the experience of Maurice Prendergast: By the Sea, visitors will be invited to see related paintings by Prendergast’s friends, such as John Sloan and William Glackens, as well as by his brother Charles. Their presence further underscores Maurice’s originality and vision, which made him a leader of the modern art movement in the first two decades of the 1900s. A continuous screening of early twentieth-century films of crowds on seaside promenades and piers will bring Prendergast’s world alive in the Museum’s Media Gallery.
A special treat is the concurrent opening of Katherine Bradford: ~~~AUGUST~~~. Bradford, who also maintains a home in New York City, is a resident of Brunswick and a long-time member of the Maine art scene. Her recent paintings are frequently inspired by the seaside. Bradford’s irreverent wit and the sumptuous colors of her brush add a contemporary twist to the Museum’s downstairs galleries.
The upstairs galleries are still filled with spectacular paintings and bold sculptures by Per Kirkeby, Scandinavia’s preeminent contemporary artist. Organized by the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture will be on view until July 14.
See you on Saturday!
Joachim Homann, curator
P.S. As always, admission to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art exhibitions and programs is free of charge and open to all.