NEWPORT, RI.- The National Museum of American Illustration
announces a milestone exhibition for the 2012 Summer Season – Maxfield
Parrish: The Retrospective – debuting Friday, May 25, and on display
through September 2, 2012.
Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) was best known for romantic images with
an unmatched richness, captured by his uncanny use of color
incorporating ultra-saturated hues and often times an intense cobalt
blue. His paintings were created using alternating layers of color and
transparent varnish over a monochromatic underpainting, sometimes
totaling as many as 60 layers. This incredible technique was superb for
period reproductions using the four color printing process. The
resultant luminosity of Parrish’s original artworks must be seen in
person to be fully appreciated, for they are uniquely breathtaking with
great depth and intense colors unmatched by any other artist before or
since. Amongst those on display will be the artist’s magnum opus, the
Florentine Fete murals, 18 separate canvases each 10’8” tall, as well
has his smallest work, The Tallwood Pearl, painted on a 1 1/2” diameter
Mother of Pearl button.
Parrish’s work as a professional illustrator encompassed the years
between the mid 1890s and mid-1960s. This Retrospective features works
from all periods of his career including his early periodical and book
illustrations with fantastical romantic images, compelling commercial
advertising works for products which sold well due to his artist’s
endorsement, depictions of fairy tales like the Brothers Grimm’s Frog
Prince, and the popular Edison Mazda (General Electric) calendars which
hung everyplace one went, from the barber shops to law offices. His
‘girls on rocks’ images were ubiquitous in the 1920s, with an estimated
one of every four American households having a Parrish print on display.
His art sold a seemingly endless number of products, including Jell-O,
Fisk tires, light bulbs, chocolate, soap, cameras, bicycles, silverware,
cosmetics, and root beer.
Maxfield Parrish: The Retrospective opens May 25th, the commencement
of NMAI’s Summer Season, and will remain on display through September
2nd. The NMAI is open Fridays through Sundays, from 11am to 5pm for
General Admission and also Memorial Day, with guided tours every Friday
at 3pm. All other times year-round are by advance reservation.
During the Parrish exhibition, NMAI will continue to exhibit
highlights from last year’s Norman Rockwell: American Imagist traveling
exhibition, recently acclaimed in England as “the best art exhibition in
London for 2011.” NMAI is also highlighting works by author Tom Wolfe
from In Our Time, his first museum art exhibition ever, comprised of
works from his book by the same name, lampooning 1970s American culture.