Urban Realism and the American Scene

Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1858–1924)
The Grand Canal, Venice, c. 1898–99
Watercolor and graphite on paper, 18 1/8 x 14 1/4 in. (46.0 x 36.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.123

Object-Maurice Brazil Prendergast, The Grand Canal, Venice

Watercolorist and oil painter Maurice Brazil Prendergast produced vivid, modernist compositions that capture the sparkling effects of light and movement in public places. Painted during his eighteen-month stay in Italy, in 1898 and 1899, this work provides a bird’s-eye view of a bustling area along the central Venetian canal. Façades of splendid palaces border the waterway, while formal and color contrasts emphasize a surprisingly vertical division between land and water. A crowd of pedestrians on the street offers a strong counterpoint to the brightly shining water on the left, where a handful of gondolas punctuate the surface. Carefully inserted are white-clad figures that balance the rich colors of the busy scene and demonstrate Prendergast’s polished compositional skills. His mastery of watercolor technique allows the colors to merge with one another while retaining their individuality. The picture confirms the artist’s status as an innovative interpreter of modern life.

Learn more about this watercolor on the Terra Foundation website.


Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1858–1924)
The Grand Canal, Venice, c. 1898–99
Watercolor and graphite on paper, 18 1/8 x 14 1/4 in. (46.0 x 36.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.123

Urban Realism and the American Scene

William Glackens (1870–1938)
Bal Bullier, c. 1895
Oil on canvas, 23 13/16 x 32 in. (60.5 x 81.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.59
Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1858–1924)
The Grand Canal, Venice, c. 1898–99
Watercolor and graphite on paper, 18 1/8 x 14 1/4 in. (46.0 x 36.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.123
Everett Shinn (1876–1953)
Theater Scene, 1903
Oil on canvas, 12 3/4 x 15 1/2 in. (32.4 x 39.4 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.136
Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1858–1924)
Salem Willows, 1904
Oil on canvas, 26 1/4 x 34 1/4 in. (66.7 x 87.0 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.120
George Luks (1866–1933)
Knitting for the Soldiers: High Bridge Park, c. 1918
Oil on canvas, 30 3/16 x 36 1/8 in. (76.7 x 91.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.87
Robert Henri (1865–1929)
Sylvester, 1914
Oil on canvas, 32 x 26 in. (81.2 x 66 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2017.2
Rockwell Kent (1882–1971)
Cranberrying, Monhegan, c. 1907
Oil on canvas, 28 1/16 x 38 1/4 in. (71.3 x 97.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Gift of Mr. Dan Burne Jones. Image © Plattsburgh State Art Museum, Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection., C1983.4
George Bellows (1882–1925)
The Palisades, 1909
Oil on canvas, 30 x 38 1/8 in. (76.2 x 96.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.10
Robert Henri (1865–1929)
Figure in Motion, 1913
Oil on canvas, 77 1/4 x 37 1/4 in. (196.2 x 94.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.69
Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975)
Slaves, 1925
Oil on cotton duck mounted on board, 66 7/16 x 72 3/8 in. (168.8 x 183.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. Image © T.H. Benton and R.P. Benton Testamentary Trusts/UMB Bank Trustee/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 2003.4
Walter Ufer (1876–1936)
Builders of the Desert, 1923
Oil on canvas laid down on aluminum, 50 1/8 x 50 1/8 in. (127.3 x 127.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.174
Reginald Marsh (1898–1954)
Chicago, 1930
Watercolor, over graphite, on cream wove watercolor paper, 13 7/8 x 20 in. (35.2 x 50.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 1998.4
Reginald Marsh (1898–1954)
Pip and Flip, 1932
Tempera on canvas mounted on canvas, 48 1/4 x 48 1/4 in. (122.6 x 122.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image © Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York ., 1999.96
Archibald J. Motley, Jr. (1891–1981)
Between Acts, 1935
Oil on canvas, 39 1/2 x 32 in. (100.3 x 81.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2009.1
Charles Sheeler (1883–1965)
Bucks County Barn, 1940
Oil on canvas, 18 3/8 x 28 3/8 in. (46.7 x 72.1 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.135
Romare Bearden (1911–1988)
After Church, 1941
Gouache on brown paper, 22 × 34 1/2 in. (55.9 × 87.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. Image © 2018 Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 2015.2
Edward Hopper (1882–1967)
Dawn in Pennsylvania, 1942
Oil on canvas, 24 3/8 x 44 1/4 in. (61.9 x 112.4 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image © Heirs of Josephine Hopper/ Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 1999.77
Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000)
Bar-b-que, 1942
Gouache on wove paper, 30 7/8 x 22 1/2 in. (78.4 x 57.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2013.1
Walt Kuhn (1877–1949)
Clown with Drum, 1942
Oil on canvas, 60 7/8 x 41 3/8 in. (154.6 x 105.1 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.172
Edward Hopper (1882–1967)
Sierra Madre at Monterrey, 1943
Watercolor with touches of wiping, over a charcoal underdrawing, on heavyweight textured ivory wove watercolor paper, 21 1/4 x 29 3/4 in. (54.0 x 75.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1994.18