Charles Prendergast (1863-1948)
Box, ca. 1932
Tempera and gold leaf on incised, gessoed wood with metal hardware
Williams College Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Charles Prendergast, 86.18.18
In the 1920s and 30s, Charles grew increasingly interested in decorative arts, particularly in making carved and painted chests and small boxes that evoked Italian Renaissance chests and American folk craft. To create this box, Charles carved incisions on the surface of the wood and subsequently covered it with gesso, gold leaf, and tempera paint. The inside of the box is gilded and painted with a floral design. Overall, this delicate box combines Charles’s skills as a craftsman and artist in a single exceptional work of art.