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Maxfield Parrish Art and Illustration

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Maxfield Parrish Art and Illustration

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Images from Maxifield Parrish's art, as well as illustrations to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Poems of Childhood, Arabian Nights and many others

This page has been getting a facelift. Most of the images are back and rescanned for the new millenia. Still coming: More Knave of Hearts, and special sections on the murals and information about his favorite models.

About Maxfield Parrish

Maxfield Parrish Art

Maxfield Parrish Books, Maxfield Parrish Calendar and other Resources

About Maxfield Parrish

During the Golden Age of Illustration, Maxfield Parrish's "beautiful settings and charming figures" enchanted the American public. His work includes immense murals in office buildings and hotels, magazine covers, and advertisements as well as his book illustrations.

Many of his illustrations to children's books, still popular today, are the result of his struggle to make a living as an artist in his early years around the turn of the 20th century.

He was born Frederick Parrish in 1870 in Philadelphia, but he took the name Maxfield after his Quaker grandmother. His father, Stephen, was also an artist and Parrish's greatest influence. He originally studied architecture, an interest that is evident in his paintings. He married his wife Lydia 1895.

Daybreak, his arguably most famous picture, was created for the art print market. It is still popular to this day.

In 1900, Parrish contracted tuberculosis, and then suffered a nervous breakdown. Around that time, he switched from illustrations to oil painting. His oil paintings became very popular, with their brilliant colors and magical luminosity, until well into the 1940s. To achieve these magical effects, he would apply numerous layers of thin, transparent oil, alternating with varnish over stretched paper, a painstaking process that achieved both high luminosity and extraordinary detail.

The tuberculosis hung on and Parrish went to Arizona to convalesce in the dry heat there. While in Arizona, he was commissioned to do a series of landscapes. He began painting and traveling on commission and his career took off.

Parrish worked at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire, called The Oaks. The Oaks was a popular destination for guests during the summers but in the frozen New Hampshire winters, Parrish dedicated himself to his painting.

In 1905, Parrish's met Susan Lewin, a 16-year old girl hired as a nanny for his son Dillwyn. Her image appears often in paintings from this time through the 1920s. Over time, Susan became Parrish's assistant, model for his paintings, and eventually his lover. His wife, Lydia, and Maxfield grew increasingly estranged and she left him in 1911. Susan stayed with Maxfield for another 50 years.

From the 1930s until 1960, when he stopped painting, Maxfield Parrish refocused his attention on the world around him, producing a series of calendar landscapes. Yet even these retain the magical, window-to-the-otherworld quality that permeates all of his work.

Parrish died at 95 in 1966, at a time when his work was enjoying a renaissance of interest.

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The Fisherman and the Genie, Maxfield Parrish

Arabian Nights

The full set of Maxfield Parrish Arabian Nights illustrations, both the 1909 edition and the additional illustrations from the 1923 edition. The Young King of the Black Isles and Sinbad Plotting to Kill the Giant appear only in the 1923 edition.

Cover to Arabian Nights (1909)

Ali Baba in the cave
of the 40 thieves

Codadad and the Pirates

The Fisherman and the Genie

Sinbad plotting to kill the genie (1923)

The Young King of the Black Isles

The Talking Bird

The Man of Brass

Aladdin

City of Brass

Gulnare

Prince Agib

Second Voyage of Sinbad

Myths and Fairy Tales

Maxfield Parrish: Snow White

Sleeping Beauty

Snow White

Cinderella

Enchanted Prince

Frog Prince

Pomegranate Seeds

The Golden Fleece

Three Golden Apples

Tempest

Circes

Cleopatra

Pandora

Pan

Jack and the Beanstalk

Puss in Boots

Reluctant Dragon

Land of Make Believe

Sea Nymphs

The Little Princess

Nursery Rhymes

Illustrations from various nursery rhymes.

Maxfield Parrish: Peter Pumpkin Eater

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater

Old King Cole

Sing a Song of Sixpence 1

Sing a Song of Sixpence 2

Sandman Slumber Song

Knave of Hearts

Maxfield Parrish: The Knave of Hearts

The Enchanted Prince

King Cameo

Knave to Chefs Table

Knave of Hearts

Knaves Watching

Pastry Chefs

Her Window

King Samples the Tarts

Knave in the Sun

Pomp Debile

Lady Ursula