2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:26
M. Parrish was such a famous artist that even one of the colors of the palette was named after him: "Parrish blue" (Parrish light blue). Although Maxfield Parrish was very different from other contemporary artists with his techniques, diligence, search for models and much more, he entered the history of American painting as the author of one painting - "Dawn", which became his calling card in the world of painting.
Short biography of the artist
The biography of Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) must begin with the fact that his father Stephen Parrish was an engraver and landscape painter. He had enough money and skills to give a lot to his son, who showed early ability to draw. First of all, this is a decent education: Maxfield graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Pennsylvania. At birth, the artist received the name Frederick, but, starting to work and earn money, he changed his name to his mother's maiden name Maxfield. This name has become his creative pseudonym.
First known works -illustrations. This is a collection of 1887 by Baum "Tales of Mother Goose in Prose", illustrations for a collection of poems for children and for "Arabian Nights" ("A Thousand and One Nights"). His magnificent works with elves, dragons, fairies were so understandable to children, they delighted them so much and introduced them to a real magical world that the artist was immediately overwhelmed with orders. As an illustrator, Maxfield Parrish collaborated with many magazines, becoming one of the stars of the "golden age of illustration" at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and creating many magazine covers.
He was in high demand, quite rich and famous for his illustrations. But the artist falls ill, suffers stress and stops working on illustrations, turning to the landscape, his father's genre. Parrish's oil painting, reminiscent of the pattern and choice of subjects of the Pre-Raphaelites, was very different from the work of other artists with its unique, magical glow. Paintings by Maxfield Parrish on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Features of Parrish's style and technique
The artist's style is easily recognizable: with great care and realistic accuracy, he wrote out the details of the work and highlighted them, applying layers of paint on top of each other, alternating them and smoothing them with layers of varnish. Calm light, tranquility emanates from almost all of his paintings. They are pleasant and life-affirming, uplifting and adding optimism.
Maxfield Parrish spent a lot of time creating landscapes for paintings in his workshop from stones and improvised material, useddiversified lighting with multiple light sources.
The artist's paintings do not show brush strokes, everything is hidden from view. This takes the viewer into the magical world of an artist who refused to illustrate fairy tales, but again created the magic of magic in his works.
Selection of sitters for paintings
Posed for Parrish's paintings, as a rule, his relatives, friends and acquaintances. This was justified by the artist by the fact that he wants to convey in his paintings the “spirit of innocence”, that is, most likely, freshness, unstampedness, as we would say today.
Daughter Jane posed for his painting "Dawn". But the main model of Maxfield Parrish was first the nanny of the children, and then the housekeeper of the family - Susan Levin. It was from her photo that he painted female nude figures in his paintings, her body is drawn from the lying girl in the painting "Dawn", but the face of Kitty Spence (nee Ruth Brian Owen) became her appearance. Kitty Spence is the eighteen-year-old granddaughter of the American politician W. D. Bryan, who posed for him on the cover of Life magazine in 1922-23, for the films Canyon (1923), Morning (1922) and others.
The story of the painting "Dawn"
The painting "Dawn" was created by the artist for two years, most of which he thought about it without starting work, leaving untouched the "beautiful white panel" that was always before his eyes. In 1923, the finished work was presented to the public and highly appreciated. And by 1925, Maxfield Parrish's painting "Dawn" was already replicated inin the form of a lithograph and became no less famous, according to contemporaries, than Da Vinci's The Last Supper or E. Warhol's Campbell Soup Cans. True, many critics noted that the lithograph does not fully convey all the charm of the original.
In the painting, for the first time after the rejection of illustrations, the artist found a new direction in creativity: a combination of antiquity and American modernity. Only by managing to find and merge together the details of the past and recognizable present that are so popular with contemporaries, creating a new shining fairy-tale world, the artist finds himself new.
The plot of the painting "Dawn" and its fate
The picture depicts a scene from life in Arcadia, a fairy-tale land where everyone lives simply, comfortably and happily. The light of the rising sun fills the canvas. The two young innocent girls lying down and leaning towards her are full of light and joy.
Powerful columns and the gentle power of the mountains in the distance protect their peace, and flowering branches and the smoothness of the foreground surfaces give the picture the necessary tenderness and beauty. A real, tangible embodiment of the "American dream": calm confidence in the future, the joy of being, beauty and harmony with nature made the picture the most beloved for a whole generation of US residents. The work was immediately praised by critics as a magnificent work of contemporary American art.
The "unknown" who bought the painting immediately after the show hid it from the eyes of his contemporaries for 50 years, which also added to the canvas's popularity. This "unknown" turned out to be W. D. Bryan, the grandfather of the model who posed for the artist. The painting is currently in privatecollections.
Parrish Summer Painting
The picture Summer (in English "Summer") can be considered typical of Parish's work. In the picture, a naked woman sits on the edge of a lake in the shade of the branches of a lushly flowering tree or bushes, lowering her feet into the water and closing her eyes. In Maxfield Parrish's Summer, heat and sun overwhelm the air and everything around. And the water of the lake, the streams of the waterfall running from the mountains and the mountains themselves in the haze give off a cool freshness.
What exactly the woman is doing in the bushes is not clear, we do not see her hands. This "incomprehensibility" of the plot, the landscape of the background and the depiction of the figure imitating antiquity are clearly taken from the Pre-Raphaelites, and the distribution of volumes in the picture (foreground plane + one more plane + one more, etc.) and the choice of colors are a tribute to the Art Nouveau flourishing then. The picture is certainly talented and good even on reproductions.
M. Parrish and his paintings today
Today, the artist's paintings impress with the radiance pouring on the viewer, the beauty of the amazing world created by the artist, which we can easily enter by looking at his work. The fairy tale, begun by the artist in his illustrations, found a continuation in his paintings. She lives even in the easily recognizable landscapes of the state of Hampshire.
But the artist also surprises with his efficiency, the thoroughness of finishing his works, the completeness (to scrupulousness) of all his works.
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