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Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make-Believe

April 30 - June 26, 2005

 

 

(above: Maxfield Parrish, Daybreak, 1922, oil on board. Private Collection. Photo Credit: Archives of Alma Gilbert)

The Nevada Museum of Art will be the venue for the west coast premiere of Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make-Believe , a retrospective of Parrish's work touring the United States through 2005-2006. Featuring more than 80 works from American museums and private collections, Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make-Believe examines Parrish's career as a painter and illustrator and why he is one of the best-known and beloved American artists of the 20th Century. (right: Maxfield Parrish, Ecstasy, 1930, lithograph. Collection of John H. Chapman)

The works in the exhibition range from idyllic landscape paintings and whimsical advertisements to his beloved calendar and book illustrations. The exhibition highlights a selection of rarely seen murals including North Wall , an 18 1/2 foot mural commissioned by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney for her studio in Westbury, Long Island. Parrish often experimented with photographic equipment and several of his own photographs have been included in the exhibition.

Maxfield Parrish (1870 - 1966), enjoyed a level of popular success unparalleled in the history of art. His success was due not only to his mastery over painting and illustration, but also to the newly developed high-quality color printing techniques which aided the massive dissemination of his work. Parrish studied fine art and architecture first at Haverford College and then at the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy. At the Academy, he quickly melded his fine and applied art skills into his own imaginative style.

Parrish's career was launched with two successful book illustration projects, Poems of Childhood by Eugene Field, and Italian Villas and Their Gardens by Edith Wharton. The exhibition includes an early study for Italian Villas, called the Villa Caprarola, in which he painted directly onto the photograph to master the architectural detailing. Parrish's success and renown grew as he accepted advertising and publishing commissions. Edison Mazda (the precursor of General Electric) made him a household name in the 1920s. His cover designs for magazines such as Collier's, Ladies' Home Journal, Hearst, Cosmopolitan, Life, Scribner's, and Century kept his images consistently in the public eye. Parrish committed himself to the popularization and democratization of art, viewing beauty as a form of social improvement.

Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make-Believe is organized by The Trust For Museum Exhibitions (TME), a Washington, D.C. based non-profit service organization committed to providing the finest in exhibitions and technical support to museums and cultural centers throughout the U.S. and abroad.[1]

The exhibition is curated by Alma Gilbert-Smith, a long-time Parrish scholar and dealer. She has written several books about Mr. Parrish, including Maxfield Parrish: The Masterworks. Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make-Believe is accompanied by an illustrated exhibition catalogue written by Alma Gilbert-Smith, the exhibition's guest curator. The catalogue will be available at the NMA's store.

 

(above Maxfield Parrish, Dreaming/October, 1928, oil on board. Collection of Lyle Trachtenberg. Photo Credit: Archives of Alma Gilbert)

 

Special programs and events:

Curator's Talk - Maxfield Parrish: America's Popular Artistic Icon

Friday, April 29 / 5 pm
 
Alma Gilbert, exhibition curator of Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make-Believe and long-time Parrish scholar, will discuss the life and popularity of Parrish as well as how he worked with lithographers to develop innovative methods to reproduce his artwork.

Talk - Dynamic Symmetry: The Foundation of Maxfield Parrish

Thursday, May 26 / 6 pm
 
Dynamic symmetry was used by Egyptian and Greek artisans to create some of the world's greatest art and architecture.
 
Join local artist David McCamant as he discusses how Parrish used dynamic symmetry in the creation of his amazing compositions.

Sierra Nevada Ballet:

A Painter's Love Story
Saturday, April 30 at 7 pm / Sunday, May 1 at 2:30 pm
 
A Painter's Love Story features ballet star Domingo Rubio as Maxfield Parrish in this world-premiere theatrical event based on the book The Make-Believe World of Maxfield Parrish by Sue Lewin and Alma Gilbert-Smith. This multi-media production reflects on Parrish's career and brings several of his well-known paintings to life on stage. A Painter's Love Story is presented by the Sierra Nevada Ballet in conjunction with the Nevada Shakespeare Company and the Nevada Museum of Art.
 

Art Bite

David McCamant on Dynamic Symmetry and Maxfield Parrish
Friday, May 13 / noon
 
Rebecca Rosenberg, NMA Associate Curator of Education on Parrish's Vanderbilt Whitney Murals
Friday, May 27 / noon
 
These half-hour dialogues invite guests to experience an informal but intimate introduction to works from the exhibitions as well as the installation process.

Workshop: Creating Dynamic Compositions, an Introduction to Dynamic Symmetry

Saturday, May 28 / 12 ­ 4pm
 
This workshop with local artist David McCamant aspires to provide a good foundational knowledge of the principles of Dynamic Symmetry for all levels of artists. Beginning with an overview of standard compositional concepts students will move into discussions and hands-on work with examples of Dynamic Symmetry. Workshop supplies and booklet will be supplied by the NMA for each student.

Drawing in the Galleries

Thursdays, June 9, June 23 / 6 to 8 pm
Saturdays, June 11, June 25 / noon to 2 pm
 

National Tour Itinerary [2]

 
Nevada Museum of Art ­ Reno, NV
April 30, 2005 ­ June 26, 2005
 
The San Diego Museum of Art ­ San Diego, CA
July 16 ­ September 11, 2005
 
Telfair Museum of Art ­ Savannah, GA
September 29 ­ November 27, 2005
 
Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL
December 15, 2005 ­ February 12, 2006
 
Memphis Brooks Museum ­ Memphis, TN
March 13 - May 7, 2006

(above: Maxfield Parrish, Lady Violetta and the Knave, 1923, oil on board. Collection of William M. Helvey, M.D. Photo Credit: Archives of Alma Gilbert)

Check-list for the exhibition:

1887 Calendar, 1887, ink and pencil on paper, 23 1/2 x 18 x 1 in.
Afterglow , 1949, Oil on panel, 18 x 20 x 1 1/2 in.
Alphabet , 1909, Oil on board, 27 x 21 x 2 in.
Autumn Brook , 1948, Oil on board, 28 x 24 x 2 in.
Belt for Land of Make-Believe , 1905, Beaded belt
Circe's Palace, 1907, Oil on canvas, 50 x 42 3 in.
Cobble Hill , 1931, Oil on panel
Columns for Daybreak , 1922, Tongue and groove cedar
Comic Mask , 1905, Bronze
Contentment , 1928, Lithograph, 41 3/8 x 20 7/8 x 1 1/2 in.
Dawn , 1918, Lithograph, 41 3/8 x 20 7/8 1 1/2 in.
Daybreak , 1922, Oil on board, 29 1/2 x 48 in.
Dingleton Farm , 1956, Oil on board, 13 1/2 x 17 1/2 x 1/2 in.
Dream Light , 1925, Lithograph, 41 3/8 x 20 7/8 x 1 1/2 in.
Dreaming/October , 1928, Oil on board, 33 x 52 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.
Early Autumn , White Birch, 1936, Oil on panel, 37 x 32 x 1 3/4 in.
Ecstasy , 1930, Lithograph, 40 5/8 x 21 3/8 x 3/4 in.
Edison Mazda Lamp (Advertising Sign), after 1921, enamel on metal with wood, 27 1/2 x 33 x 11 1/8 in.
Enchantment , 1926, Lithograph, 41 1/2 x 22 x 3/4 in.
Evening , 1922, Lithograph, 15 5/8 x 12 5/8 x 5/8 in.
Garden of Allah , 1919, Photo-mechanical color lithograph, 18 x 24.01 in.
Golden Hours , 1929, Lithograph, 45 3/4 x 23 5/8 x 7/8 in.
Harper's Monthly Cover, 1900, Oil and ink on paper, 17 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 1 in.
Humpty Dumpty , 1921, Pen and ink, 31 1/4 x 24 1/4 in.
Illustration for "Potpourri" by H.G. Dwight, 1905, Oil on stretched paper, 23 1/4 x 21 1/4 in.
Jack Frost , 1936, Oil on board, 35 x 29.5 in.
Lady Violetta and the Knave, 1923, Oil on board, 26 1/2 x 23 x 2 in.
Land of Make-Believe , 1905, Oil on canvas applied board, 43 x 35 in.
Last Rose of Summer , 1898, oil on paper,
Lute Players , 1922, Lithograph, 20 x 32 x 1 in.
Maxfield Parrish by Kenyon Cox, 1905, Oil on Canvas, 35 7/16 x 30 3/8 x 2 5/8 in.
Modern Tribute to Maxfield Parrish, 2003, Relief, 20 x 15.5 in.
Moonrise: A Park , 1895, Watercolor, 12 x 16 x 1/2 in.
Night in the Desert , 1902, Oil on paper, 20w x 25h x 2d in.
The Lamp Seller of Bagdad , 1923, Lithograph, 42 x 21 1/2 x 1 1/4 in.
The Venetian Lamplighter , 1924, Lithograph, 41 1/2 x 20 7/8 x 1 1/2 in.
The Waterfall , 1931, Lithograph, 41 3/8 x 20 7/8 x 1 1/2 in.
Three Sketches for Old King Cole Mural , 1906, watercolor on paper, 25 x 28 1 3/4 in.
Vigil at Arms , 1904, Oil on paper, 30 1/2 x 24 3/4 in.
Villa Caprarola , 1964, Painted photograph, 15 3/4 x 11 3/4 x 1 3/8 in.
We've Got it and We'll Hold it , unknown, Oil on board, 13 1/2 x 15 3/8 x 1 3/4 in.
Welcome Home, Teddy Roosevelt , 1910, Oil on paper, 29 1/2 x 23 1/2 in.
What They Talked About , 1899, Pen and ink, 23 1/2 x 19 x 1 1/2 in.
White Birch , Photo-mechanical color lithograph, 21.01 x 16 in
Wild Geese , 1925, Photo-mechanical color lithograph, 24.01 x 18 in
Winter , 1906, Oil on paper mounted on board, 19 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 1 1/2 in
Young Girl in a Landscape , 1918, Oil on board, 13 x 11 in.
Pierrot's Serenade , 1909, Lithograph, 9 3/4 x 11 1/2 in.
Plainfield, New Hampshire Village Church at Dusk , 1941, Oil on board, 18 1/4 x 16 3/4 x 2 in.
Poet's Dream , 1901, Oil on paper, 25 7/16 x 18 3/16 x 2 ? in.
Primitive Man , 1921, Lithograph, 41 3/8 x 20 7/8 x 1 1/2 in.
Princess Parizade Bringing Home the Singing Tree , 1906, Oil on paper, 23 1/2 x 19 1/2 x 2 1/4 in.
Prometheus , 1920, Lithograph, 41 3/8 x 20 7/8 x 1 1/2 in.
Radnor Easel , 1895, wood
Reveries , 1927, Lithograph, 45 x 26 1/4 x 1 3/8 in.
Rubaiyat , 1917, Lithograph
Solitude , 1911, Oil on board, 38 x 45.5 x 3.5 in.
Spirit of the Night , 1919, Lithograph, 41 3/8 x 20 7/8 x 1 1/2 in.
Spirit of the Night , 1919, proof, 25 1/2 x 37 1/2 x 1 1/4 in.
Study for Misty Morn , 1953, Oil on board,
Study for the Characters , 1923, Oil on panel, 11 3/4 x 15 x 1 in.
Study for The Knave Watching Violetta Depart , 1914, Watercolor, 23 x 16 1/2 x 3 in.
Sunrise , 1933, Lithograph, 20 x 16 in.
Swiftwater , 1953, Oil on panel, 24 x 28 x 2.5 in.
The Canyon , 1923, Oil on board, 35 1/2 x 29 1/2 x 1 in.
 
photographs
 
Maxfield Parrish posing for photograph [study for "Potpourri" illustration], 1904, Gelatin Silver Print, 25 5/8 x 21 3/4 in.
Photograph of Sue Lewin posing for the male figure for Rubaiyat , c. 1916, photograph, 20 X 16 in.
Jean Parrish for Daybreak , from neg. c. 1922, Photograph, 16 x 20 inches
Jean Parrish for Evening , From neg. c. 1921, Photograph, 16 x 20 inches
Kitty Owen posing for Interlude , From neg. 1922, Photograph, 16 x 20 inches
Parrish and son Dillwyn posing for Alphabet , From neg. 1922, Photograph, 16 x 20 inches
Parrish and Sue Lewin posing for The Idiot , c. 1910, photograph
Parrish posing figure: Jack Frost , From neg. 1936, Photograph, 16 x 20 inches
Parrish posing for Giant Holding Youth , From neg. c. 1910, Photograph, 16 x 20 inches
 
Study for Daybreak , 1922, Photograph of watercolor, 16 x 20 inches
Sue Lewin posing for Garden of Allah , From neg. c. 1917, Photograph, 16 x 20 inches
Sue Lewin posing for Knave Watching Violetta Depart , From neg. c. 1923, Photograph, 16 x 20 inches
Sue Lewin posing for Land of Make-Believe , c. 1905, photograph, 20 X 16 inches
Sue Lewin posing for Primitive Man , 1921, Photograph
Sue Lewin posing for the male figure for Rubaiyat , c. 1916, photograph, 20 X 16 inches
 
murals
 
Interlude Mural , 1922, Oil on linen canvas, 88 x 63 3/4 4 1/2 in.
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Murals: East Wall, Panel 2A, 1914, Oil on canvas, 85 x 102 x 7 in.
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Murals: East Wall, Panel 2B, 1914, Oil on canvas, 85 x 102 x 7 in.
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Murals: North Wall, 1918, Oil on canvas, 72 x 228 in.
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Murals: South Wall, Panel 4A, 1916, Oil on canvas, 85 x 102 x 7 in.
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Murals: South Wall, Panel 4B, 1916, Oil on canvas, 85 x 102 x 7 in.
Du Pont Mural, 1933, Oil on canvas,


Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy these additional articles and essays:

and these videos:

Maxfield Parrish  26 minute / 1998 / CH - Having one of the most recognizable and beautiful illustration styles of the twentieth century made Maxfield Parrish's works among the most reproduced of all. This biography traces his life and influences from childhood and underscores his importance in the commercial arts, flirting often with the fine arts, with over 100 brilliant images from his body of work. (courtesy of Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)
 
Parrish Blue is a 27 minute film that was produced in 1967, shortly after the death of the popular American artist/illustrator Maxfield Parrish. It's a rare film, made when his home and studio in Cornish, New Hampshire, were just about as he left them at age 96. His son, Maxfield Parrish, Jr., and artist and friend, Norman Rockwell, share their understanding of this man who dominated the popular arts in early 20th-century America. We glimpse much of Parrish's work...from magazine covers to advertisements; from huge murals to decorative prints; from book illustrations to notecards. Many of the originals were available to the film makers. The film itself is a transfer from a recently discovered "answer print" and shows its age through scratches and grain as it develops an engaging portrait of a supremely talented "character" who touched so many people with his unique vision. Also available as a DVD.
 
 

1. To learn more on how organizations like The Trust For Museum Exhibitions organize and tour exhibits, please see TFAO's Planning, Organizing and Touring Art Exhibitions.

2. Itinerary courtesy of The Trust For Museum Exhibitions.

Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.

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