We have now finished digitizing correspondence files, which included postcards, letters, and personal documents. In addition to written notes and letters, we have also uncovered hand-made cards with drawings and poems from some of the Prendergasts’ closest friends. Some of the most interesting and amusing of these cards are from artist friends Charles Hovey Pepper and André Smith.
Early modernist painter and woodblock printer Charles Hovey Pepper was active in the Boston art scene in the early 20th century. He became good friends with Maurice Prendergast through his studies at the Acadamie Julian as well as through his involvement in the Boston Art Club and as a member of “The Four Boston Painters” which also included Carl Gordon Cutler, and E. Ambrose Webster. All four artists exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show in New York City where their modernist proclivities faced criticism from American traditionalists but also gained them respect as ground breaking artists.
As evidence from his hand-made cards to Charles and Eugénie, Hovey Pepper remained friends with the Prendergast family well past Maurice’s death. The two cards featured here are from 1927, but our collection also includes correspondence letters dated from the 1940s.
André Smith, founder of the Maitland Art Center, in Maitland FL, and modernist painter and etcher, was another close friend of the Prendergasts. Smith, a graduate of Cornell University and WWI veteran, seems to have become close friends with Charles and Eugénie, later in life.
It is possible that he only became closely connected to the Prendergasts through their vacation trips to Winter Park Florida. However, he was clearly acquainted with Charles through the art world at an earlier date. All of the cards from André Smith are dated from the 1940s so it is unclear if he was ever close personal friends with Maurice. Either way, André Smith remained a close friend to Charles until the end of his life as demonstrated from his hand made cards that continued through December of 1947.
Pivot media will return again in July for their final on-site photo shoot of the Prendergast collection. However, plenty of work still remains! In the fall, we will begin bringing material from the Prendergast Archive and Study Center to Pivot media’s studio for scanning. Stay tuned as we continue to uncover more unique items.