According to the chronology listed in the Prendergast Catalogue Raisonné, in 1898-1899 Maurice Brazil Prendergast traveled to Italy and stayed for about 18 months. His itinerary included Venice, Padua, Florence, Siena, Orvieto, Rome, Naples, and Capri. Shown below is a watercolor Maurice produced while in Capri during that time (86.18.73).
The trip was financed by Sarah Choate Sears (1858-1935). She was born into a very prominent Boston upper class family. She won prizes for her watercolors at several world’s fairs between 1893 and 1904. She was friends and often rivals with fellow art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner (the same associated with the Gardner Museum in Boston). You can view a portrait of Sears by John Singer Sargent and more biographical information about her on the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston website. Later in life she became a photographer, and you can view a photograph she took of John Singer Sargent and some information about the photography on the website for the J. Paul Getty Museum. As viewers of the paintings Maurice Brazil Prendergast produced in Italy, we can appreciate Sarah Choate Sears’s generosity in funding his travels.