The Holiday

Maurice Brazil Prendergast


Born in Newfoundland, Maurice Prendergast came to America with his family at the age of ten. After living in Boston for some time, he left America to study at the Académie Julian in Paris. In Europe, Prendergast was exposed to the myriad art movements and styles of the beginning of the twentieth century, though he was most influenced by the post-Impressionist style. Returning to America, Prendergast settled in New York City, where he perfected his production of kaleidoscopic images of city life.

The Holiday by Maurice Brazil Prendergast

Can an artwork have rhythm?

Prendergast humbly entered the shimmering world of 19th-century Parisian art by working on a cattle boat for his passage to Europe in 1884. The young artist stayed for three years, absorbing the influence of Impressionism, which led him to use color to emphasize form and rhythm in an intensely personal mode of expression. In The Holiday, Prendergast painted a tapestrylike scene, outlining figures, trees, and water in lively, dancing brushstrokes.

Oil on canvas

Museum purchase, gift of the Charles E. Merrill Trust with matching funds from the M. H. de Young Museum Society

Item ID
27 x 34 3/8 in. (68.6 x 87.3 cm)
ca. 1908–1909
Artist name
Maurice Brazil Prendergast
Artwork location