The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) has been awarded a grant of $400,000 from the Terra Foundation for American Art to help implement the exhibition “Prendergast in Italy.” The exhibition, organized by WCMA in partnership with the Terra Foundation, will open in the summer of 2009 and travel to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The grant is the largest the museum has ever received for an exhibition.
“Prendergast in Italy” will open at WCMA on July 18, 2009. It will feature approximately 60 watercolors, oils, sketchbooks, and mono types by American artist Maurice Prendergast. This will be the first exhibition to assemble all the major works resulting from the artist’s two trips to Italy (1898-9 and 1911.) Related letters, prints, photographs, films, guidebooks, and travel advertisements will also be included to situate the work within the new visual culture that Americans had embraced by 1900. Prendergast presented a view of Italy that was informed by European trends but did not disguise his strong American emphasis – an emphasis that would come to dominate international discourse in the twentieth century. This interdisciplinary exhibition will demonstrate the advances of abstract color and form that put Prendergast on the cutting edge of American modernism.
After opening at WCMA, “Prendergast in Italy” will travel to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice (October 9, 2009-January 3, 2010) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (January 27-April 17, 2010). The works on view will be loaned from such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and approximately fifty other lenders.
“We are delighted that the Terra Foundation for American Art is able to partner with Williams College Museum of Art to organize ‘Prendergast in Italy,'” noted Elizabeth Glassman, President and CEO of the Terra Foundation for American Art. “This will be an excellent show.”
The grant will not only fund part of the exhibition, but also a major book in both English and Italian on Prendergast’s Italian works. Essays from Nancy Mowll Mathews, Eugenie Prendergast Senior Curator of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Art and Lecturer in Art, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts; Elizabeth Kennedy, Curator of Collection, Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Illinois; Carol Clark, William McCall Vickery 1957 Professor of the History of Art and American Studies, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts; Alessandro Del Puppo, Universita degli Studi di Undine, Undine, Italy; Olga Plaszczewska, Chair of Comparative Literature, Faculty of Polish Studies, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland; and Jan Andreas May, Assistant Curator, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany, will accompany 250 illustrations of art, photography, maps, and documents that give the complete context of Prendergast’s Italy. A substantial contribution to art historical studies, this book will be a guide to the complexities of Italy and modern art in Prendergast’s era.
“It has long been a dream of the Williams College Museum of Art to mount the exhibition, Prendergast in Italy,” says curator and co-organizer Nancy Mowll Mathews. “Working cooperatively with the Terra Foundation for American Art, the two organizations, with their extraordinary resources and historical involvement with Prendergast, will be able to produce an exhibition and publication that will do justice to a body of work that is one of the highlights of American art. A special feature of this exhibition is that it will be shown in Venice. This will not only put the works back into their creative context, but will introduce international audiences to this distinctive American artist.”
This exhibition is organized by Williams College Museum of Art in partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art. Terra Foundation for American Art is the lead sponsor with additional funding from the Eugenie Prendergast Endowment.
The Williams College Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free and the museum is wheelchair accessible. Publicity images for this and other current exhibitions are available for use by the press.
Contact: Suzanne A. Silitch, 413.597.3178; email@example.com; www.wcma.org.
CONTACT: Suzanne A. Silitch of Williams College, +1-413.597.3178,
Web site: http://www.wcma.org//