Maxfield Parrish

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Maxfield Parrish

Framed Autograph with Vintage Print - 1923

Bold, beautiful autograph on white card, in Parrish’s distinctive calligraphic style. Gorgeously framed with an original vintage 1923 print of “The Stage Manager” and an inset image of Parrish in his early years.

MAXFIELD PARRISH (1870-1966) was an American painter and illustrator. Parrish’s art features dazzlingly luminous colors; the color “Parrish blue” was named in acknowledgement of his prolific use of that unique blend. He achieved the results by means of a technique called glazing where bright layers of oil color separated by varnish are applied alternately over a base rendering (Parrish usually used a blue and white monochromatic underpainting).

Parrish would build up the depth in his paintings by photographing, enlarging, projecting and tracing half- or full-size objects or figures. Parrish then cut out and placed the images on his canvas, covering them with thick, but clear, layers of glaze. The result is realism of elegiac vivacity. His work achieves a unique three-dimensional appearance.

Parrish devised many innovative techniques which no other major artist has successfully copied. A technique which Parrish used frequently involved creating a large piece of cloth with a geometric pattern in stark black-and-white (such as alternate black and white squares, or a regular pattern of black circles on a white background). A human model (often Parrish himself) would then pose for a photograph with this cloth draped naturally on his or her body in a manner which intentionally distorted the pattern. Parrish would develop a transparency of the photo, then project this onto the canvas of his current work in progress. Using black graphite on the white canvas, Parrish would painstakingly trace and fill in all the black portions of the projected photo. The result was astonishing: in the finished painting, a human figure would be seen wearing a distinctive geometrically-patterned cloth which draped realistically and accurately.


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