Description: In January 1891, Maurice Prendergast and his brother Charles arrived in Paris to study art at the Académies Julian and Colarossi, both known for their openness to foreign students. Though he soaked up his formal education, his most influential teacher may have been the city of Paris itself, with its busy galleries bursting with Impressionist and the new Post-Impressionist paintings, its grand department stores and intense fashion consciousness, and its cafés, which served as noisy incubators of new ideas and theories of art.
A result of Prendergast’s time spent exploring the French capital, Woman Drinking Tea is a delightfully intimate study of leisurely Parisian life, produced in the loose watercolor that defined his work in the 1890s. As a smartly dressed yet in many ways anonymous woman delicately sips her tea at one of the city’s countless outdoor cafés, the city of Paris whirs behind her, a blur of busy urban life. Prendergast would continue to study women and their leisure activities for the remainder of his career, always intrigued by their fashions and mannerisms.
Provenance: Gift of Montgomery H. W. Ritchie
Rights: Dixon Gallery and Gardens. For Terms and Conditions for use of this image please contact the Registrar at 901-761-5250.