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12/5/2009 Houston, TX-- On Feburary 14, 2010, three exhibitions will open at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Sargent and the Sea, Houston's Sargents, and Prendergast in Italy.

More than 80 paintings, watercolors, and drawings of seascapes and coastal scenes from the early career of the pre-eminent late-19th-century American expatriate painter John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) will be featured in Sargent and the Sea, on view from February 14 to May 23, 2010. Following a presentation at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., this fall, Houston’s showing is the final stop in the United States before the exhibition travels to London’s Royal Academy. Dr. Emily Ballew Neff, MFAH curator of American Painting and Sculpture, organizes the Houston showing, which is complemented by Houston’s Sargents: a show of some 30 Sargent works from private Houston collections.

Prendergast in Italy, the first exhibition devoted entirely to the watercolors, monotypes, and oil paintings by the American modern artist Maurice Prendergast, will open at the MFAH on the same day: February 14, 2010. Featuring more than 60 views of Venice, Rome, Siena, and Capri, Prendergast in Italy also includes the artist’s personal sketchbooks, letters, photographs, and guidebooks from his two trips to Italy, in 1898 and 1911. Prendergast was born and raised in Boston but developed his mature style during early trips abroad to France (1891-1895) and Italy (1989-1989). Renowned for his paintings full of joie de vivre, the view of Italy that Prendergast presents was informed by European trends filtered through the eyes of an American artist and tourist encountering Venice for the first time. This exhibition demonstrates the advances of abstract color and form that put Prendergast on the cutting edge of American modernism.

MFAH Hours and Admission
Hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.—5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m.—9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.—7 p.m.; and Sunday, 12:15—7 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday, except for holidays. Admission to this exhibition is included with general admission to the museum. General admission is $7 for adults and $3.50 for children 6-18, students, and senior adults (65+); admission is free for children 5 and under. Admission is free on Thursday, courtesy of Shell Oil Company Foundation. Admission is free on Saturday and Sunday for children 18 and under with a Houston Public Library Power Card or any other library card.