July 12, 2012

Maxfield Parrish

Front Page Article in Antiques & The Arts Weekly!


Griselda. 1920

Journalist Frances McQueeney-Jones Mascoli wrote the headline front-page story on the NMAI’s Maxfield Parrish: The Retrospective exhibition for the noted journal Antiques & The Arts Weekly, for the June 22nd, 2012 issue.  A well-written and compelling article, it is an incredibly effective primer for viewing the exhibition, as well as a thorough survey of Parrish’s career for those interested in learning more about the illustrator, his life, and career.




Maxfield Parrish, c. 1958


The King Samples the Tarts. 1924

The author aptly summarizes Parrish’s work as “jewel-like and romantic,” evincing “an exceptional degree of skill as a draftsman” with “precise and profound” perspective, and his abilities as a colorist were characterized as “brilliant.”

 Ms. Mascoli does not focus solely on Parrish’s artwork, but  includes biographical material relating to his development as an artist-illustrator stemming from his youth in Philadelphia,  education at Haverford College and later for a short stint at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, to his trips to Europe and the American Southwest whose scenery left a lasting visually manifested impression on Parrish’s work. Parrish moved in 1898 to Plainfield, New Hampshire (nearby the Cornish Artists’ Colony) to be near his father (artist Stephen Parrish) and many other artists of great note (Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Paul Manship, Frederick Remington, Daniel Chester French, Thomas Dewing, Kenyon Cox, Everett Shinn, William Zorach, Charles A. Platt, anon), where “The artist used the landscape and his home above the Connecticut River with a view of Mount Ascutney in works throughout his life.”

Morning. 1922


Evening (Winterscape). 1953

She also expounds upon Parrish’s renowned business sense, writing his “marketing acumen cannot be underestimated.” With “an innate sense of what appealed to the market”, his work was “much in demand over the course of his long career.” Parrish’s association with the important Curtis Publishing Company, and his work for other periodicals such as Colliers, Harper’s, Scribner’s, Hearst’s, and the Ladies Home Journal are all cited as are his ever-popular calendars for General Electric’s Edison Mazda light bulbs, which were estimated by GE’s Director in 1931 as having reached each home in America “nearly 300 times.”

A Florentine Fete. 126" x 207". 1916

Less attention is given to Parrish’s personal life, but the author describes Parrish’s companion/mistress and housekeeper Susan Lewin, who appears in over 160 figures in Parrish’s 10 ½ foot tall Florentine Fete murals, his magnum opus, originally done for the Curtis Publishing Ladies’ Dining Room, and now hanging in the NMAI's permanent American Imagist Collection.  The NMAI also has his smallest artwork, an 1 1/2 inch Mother of Pearl button, on which he painted a version of ‘Sheltering Oaks’ for his caretaker’s daughter, who collected buttons.

Tallwood Pearl (Sheltering Oaks). 1955

 The full text of the article can be read online on the Antiques and the Arts Weekly site at the following url:


The exhibition is on display at the NMAI through September 2, 2012.



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