Condition Report: Signed “Morris Hall Pancoast” lower left. Artist, title, and date noted on verso. Both painting and frame are in good condition.
Biography from the Archives of askART
Morris Hall Pancoast was an artist whose life was various and at time difficult. By age fifty-two, he was seemingly a successful artist in New York City, exhibiting at the National Academy of Design, Brooklyn Museum and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. But his life, like so many others, was violently wrenched from its accustomed path by the disaster of the 1929 financial crash.
For the next sixteen years or so, Pancoast and his wife, an aging couple, literally became traveling salesmen of antiques in Florida, Massachusetts and Maine. In 1945, in a small rented house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Pancoast’s wife opened an antique shop and tearoom, while the artist ran an art gallery and had his studio.
Morris Pancoast was born in 1877 in Salem, New Jersey. He despised routine jobs, wanting badly to be an artist. He received a break of sorts in 1895 when he was encouraged in his desire to study art by an illustrator, Frederick R. Gruger, for the Philadelphia Public ledger newspaper, where Pancoast had been hired as an assistant cashier and bookkeeper. Because of his inexperience, he could not get a job in the paper’s art department, despite studying nights at Drexel University and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
In 1902, in a gutsy move, Pancoast withdrew his savings and went to Paris, studying for three years with Jean Paul Laurens at the Academie Julian and traveling in Europe. He obtained a job in the art department of the Philadelphia Inquirer upon his return.
Pancoast was an Impressionist who generally painted peaceful winter landscapes and scenes of the New England shore, though there can be an expressionist freedom of brushwork, intensity of color and darkness of mood.
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 Art Alliance, 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”