Monday, February 15, 2010

Maxfield Parrish makes a lasting mark

Hello one and all, It's happy birthday to us as V I E W turns one this month. While I have an entry "in the gate," my latest Dover project has hit the shelves, and it has been my habit to grant you a preview of those— so I'll save the other for the next post. Just out from Dover Publications is Worlds of Enchantment; The Art of Maxfield Parrish.

One of my passions in this work is bringing attention to those who have become nearly forgotten; Parrish is certainly not in that category. Parrish (1870-1966) is up there on the list of important American illustrators —his 1922 Masterpiece, Daybreak, (first piece, above) is one of the most copied and utilized images of all time. Parrish was 30 in 1900, and already getting commissions. When he approached Howard Pyle, looking to advance his skills in his young career, Pyle looked through Parrish's work, and basically told him "there was nothing he could teach him. " What does that say about a 30 year-old Parrish? It says he was ready for commercial work, and he did just fine with it. He was a prolific magazine and book illustrator early on in his career, and by 1920 he had found the advantages of working for big corporate clients. He managed to get sponsors—like Mazda lamps and Bigelow tea—to secure images from him for annual calendars, and his imagery took on a quality very distinct from other illustrators of the day. His work possessed a more dream-like, and more realistic approach simultaneously, creating a very believable fantasy setting. The popularity of his work has had unparalleled longevity, as can be seen any December when 2 or 3 Parrish Calenders can be found readily, while one on N. C. Wyeth, or Pyle, might only be available through a Museum shop, if at all. This new book looks at a good deal of Parrish's early illustration in books and magazines, with a sampling of his advertising work as well.


Also in the news: It came in this week that I will be a guest artist (among many) at November's Illuxcon Convention in Western PA. Not only will I be displaying my own work, but I will be giving a presentation there, in the area of this blog and the books that I put together for Dover. Watch this space for more details.

The upcoming H. J. Ford Book is on the presses...


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