Morris Hall Pancoast, American, (1877-1963).
The paintings of Impressionist Morris Hall Pancoast are almost all peaceful New England shore scenes and winter
landscapes, and they often have an expressionist freedom of brushwork, and an intensity of color. Cape Ann and
Rockport, Massachusetts were his favorite locations, where this painting was likely executed.
Pancoast was born in Salem, New Jersey in 1877. His father was a partner in a Salem glassworks. Morris attended
the Salem Friends' School and the Salem Public Schools, and for two years worked as a shipping clerk. A turning point
came in 1895, when he took a job as a bookkeeper and assistant cashier with the "Philadelphia Public Ledger" newspaper.
He met illustrator Frederick R. Gruger, who encouraged him to study art. Despite his studies at night at Drexel
University and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pancoast felt frustrated. He was tired of his job at the paper,
and he could not get work in an art department because of his inexperience.
In 1902, he took every penny he had out of the bank and went to Europe. At the Academie Julien in Paris, he studied
with Jean Paul Laurens. By the end of three years, after travel throughout Europe, he returned to Philadelphia and
got a job with the art department of the "Philadelphia Inquirer" from 1905 to 1907 and then the "North American" as
a cartoonist from 1907 to 1919.
By the early 1920s, Pancoast and his wife had moved to New York City, where he worked as a freelance illustrator
and painter, and he and his wife spent their summers in Rockport, MA where she ran their "Studio Gallery By the Sea".
Pancoast's career was launched. His work was shown at the Pennsylvania Academy, the Brooklyn Museum and at
the National Academy of Design. This painting was exhibited at the National Academy in 1922.
After the stock market crash of 1929, however, the lives of the Pancoasts changed. For about 20 years, they wandered
through Maine, Florida and Massachusetts, selling antiques. They settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1945, and rented
a small house, which Pancoast used as a gallery and studio; his wife operated a tearoom and antique shop. He died in 1963.
Morris Hall Pancoast was a member of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Gloucester Society of Artists, North Shore Art
Association, Pennsylvania Academy Society of Artists, Philadelphia Sketch Club and the Salmagundi Club.
His work is held by the J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky; Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin; Municipal Art
League, Williamsport, Pennsylvania; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia;
and the Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery in Pennsylvania.
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Signed, lower right.
Exhibited at the National Academy of Design, NYC 1922
Oil on canvas. 28" x 32"