Cover image for Maxfield Parrish, 1870-1966
Maxfield Parrish, 1870-1966
Yount, Sylvia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Harry N. Abrams, 1999.
Physical Description:
160 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm
General Note:
Catalog of an exhibition held at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pa. and three other institutions between June 19, 1999 and Aug. 6, 2000.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6537.P264 A4 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



The American artist Maxwell Parrish was known for his covers for Scribners, Life and other magazines, for murals such as Old King Cole and The Pied Piper, and for his many posters, calendars and paintings. Published to accompany a travelling exhibition in the USA, this is a critical examination of Parrish's place in the history of American art and culture.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

During most of his life, Maxfield Parrish was the most popular American artist, bar none. He is still popular; in 1996, his Daybreakreproductions of which are said to have been in one-fourth of all 1920s American households--sold at auction for $4.3 million. Yount recounts Parrish's career efficiently, relating his work to the development of commercial and gallery art alike without downplaying its distinctiveness and demotic appeal. Deprecated as kitsch by midcentury critics, Parrish's most familiar images, created to illustrate calendars, were of lissome young women posing ecstatically on rocky promontories before glowing, fantastically colored skies. Book illustration and murals occupied his early career, landscapes his later years. How and why he achieved the high-gloss intensity of his colors are the subjects of a fascinating pendant to Yount's main text by Mark F. Bockrath. The exhibition that this resplendent art book catalogs won't travel south of Philadelphia or west of Rochester, New York, but there is no good reason for the book not to reach libraries, not to mention hearts, throughout America. --Ray Olson

Library Journal Review

Although Parish was immensely popular early in the century, he was dismissed by mid-century critics and has enjoyed renewed interest only in the past two decades. His paintings are easily recognized by the dreamy landscapes, "Parish-blue" skies, damsels in flowing robes, and eccentric characters in tights and checks. Now, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts and the American Federation of Arts are sponsoring an exhibit of Parish's work that will tour through August 2000. The text of this companion work differs from others by addressing in more critical detail the artist's techniques and inspiration. Complementing the reproductions is a long essay by Yount, curator of collections at the Pennsylvania Academy; other essays discuss Parish's popularity and methods. The 132 illustrations include some works reproduced for the first time. This is a worthy shelf-mate of another exhibition catalog, Laurence Cutler's Maxfield Parish: A Retrospective (LJ 7/96). Recommended for all collections.ÄJoseph C. Hewgley, Nashville P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The exhibition "Maxfield Parrish 1870-1966" is currently at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts' Museum of American Art. In this catalog, Yount (collections curator at the Academy) reassesses Parrish's importance and place "outside the canons of American art history." Parrish began his studies at the Academy; "in the melding of the fine' and applied,'" he also stands as somewhat of an anomaly and hence is important to a more complex reading of this institution and its influence. Parrish achieved extraordinary success in illustrating children's books, such as Eugene Fields's Poems of Childhood, calendars, and illustrations for magazines such as Collier's, Ladies' Home Journal, Harper's Bazaar, and Life. His work of 1923, "Daybreak," became the "decorating sensation of the decade." His work is surrounded by "youthful enchantment" and is "always magical in color, always reflecting the blue sky and green hills about him, and, above all, the far-off grace and fancy of dream days." Yount's long scholarly essay explores his appeal and technique using complete documentation from rare books available in the Parrish Collections of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and conservator Mark F. Bockrath's briefer essay explores his techniques in art. A beautiful book, with 81 color plates, and a wonderful addition to art collections. All levels. N. M. Lambert; University of South Carolina at Spartanburg