Oct 17, 2012

May Day, Central Park

May Day, Central Park


Maurice Prendergast

(American, 1858–1924)

Watercolor over graphite

Support: Beige(1) wove paper

Sheet: 35.4 x 50.6 cm (13 15/16 x 19 15/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1926.17

Catalogue raisonné: Clark, Mathews, and Owens 795


Did you know?

Maurice Prendergast studied in Paris and was influenced by the French Impressionists and their focus on modern urban life.


Maurice Prendergast worked primarily in watercolor, and Central Park—seen in this drawing— was one of his favorite subjects. He regularly visited the popular public area in New York City during the early 1900s, while he was living in Boston. Prendergast's depictions of Central Park often focus on festivities and celebrations, continuing a theme he had explored in other cities, such as Paris and Venice. Here, the artist depicted children celebrating May Day by dancing with colorful ribbons around a Maypole on a sunny day. He worked with rapid, loose marks, leaving portions of the paper visible to create highlights throughout. Prendergast was drawn to this subject, and revisited it many times.

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