Marcus D. Pratt (American, 1919-2007) Western New York painter and educator primarily known for his landscapes in oil and watercolor. He was born October 19, 1919 to a large family of artists who resided in Holland, NY. His first art lessons as a teenager, like many of his other siblings at the time, included group classes with their neighbor Carl Bredemeier, of the Bredemeier Gallery in Buffalo, NY.
In 1941, Marcus was drafted and served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army in Africa and India during WWII. After his return from the war and with help from the G.I. Bill of Rights, Marcus began formal art instruction in the fall of 1947 at the Art Institute of Buffalo and also studied with noted artists William B. Rowe, Charles E. Burchfield and Robert N. Blair. He took coursework in architecture and later taught painting and design at the Art Institute, as well as locally in the 1950’s.
Marcus was a member of and exhibited regularly in many group and solo shows in the Western New York region including: the Art Institute, the Patteran Society of Buffalo, the Junior League of Buffalo, and the Watercolor League of Western New York. He also exhibited in several of the annual “Western New York Shows” at the Albright Gallery among many other local exhibitions in and around the region. His work was also shown in important national exhibitions including: the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1948, 1950 & 1951), the Metropolitan National Watercolor Show (1952) and the Butler Institute of American Art’s “19th Annual Midyear Show of Contemporary American Paintings”, Youngstown, OH (1954).
“Marcus Pratt possesses an ability to interpret nature with a strong communicative power, expressing an intimate depth and mood as well as surface loveliness.”[1-article in the Buffalo Evening News, 1950]
Professionally, Marcus worked in the construction industry and belonged to the Carpenters Union Local 289 for many years. He married fellow artist Elisabeth R. (née Bancroft) Pratt and they had four daughters, Abigail (Robert) Sengebush, Rebecca Pratt (late Jack Evans), Rachel (Max) Meindl and Emily (Patrick) McKenney. With his construction background, Marcus built their twelve-room ‘extended family’ home on a 194-acre farm in Colden, NY. He, along with fellow artist Don Burns in 1949, helped remodel three exhibition galleries at the Art Institute, in which they both exhibited soon after completion. Marcus and his wife spent part of each year in LaBelle, FL and they traveled extensively in the American west. Marcus passed away on October 2, 2007 in LaBelle, FL at the age of eighty-seven.
(Written & compiled by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY 14052, meibohmfinearts.com. Sources: too long to list here and are furnished upon request.)