Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Light in the Ozarks

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Maxfield Parrishs The Lantern Bearers
  • Maxfield Parrish's "The Lantern Bearers"

In announcing a loan to the Toledo Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art today revealed another work in its collection: Maxfield Parrish's "The Lantern Bearers," an oil on canvas on board painted in 1908. The painting was originally created a 1910 issue of Collier's magazine.

If what it cost is a measure of what it's worth, it's a big deal. It was bought at auction in New York in 2006 for $4.2 million, surely by Alice Walton, though that information is confidential. A press release from the museum calls the painting "lyrical."

Crystal Bridges has also loaned its Norman Rockwell acquisition "Rosie the Riveter" to the Toledo museum.

Here, the press release from Crystal Bridges:


BENTONVILLE, Ark., July 28, 2010 — Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will share important works of art by America’s most beloved artist-illustrators with the Toledo Museum of Art. Maxfield Parrish’s lyrical nocturne The Lantern Bearers (1908), originally created as a frontispiece for the December 10, 1910 issue of Collier’s magazine, and Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter (1943), an iconic representation of the American work ethic that provided the May 29, 1943 cover of the Saturday Evening Post, will go on display in Toledo beginning August 17.

“In the world of art today, there is a revived interest in process, virtuosic painting and craft that has inspired a reinvestigation of illustrators as artists,” said Don Bacigalupi, director of Crystal Bridges. “We are pleased to contribute to the dialog through this partnership with our colleagues at the Toledo Museum of Art.”

Collaborating with other institutions is an important focus of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Since 2005 Crystal Bridges has loaned 68 works of art to 38 institutions. Currently, 34 works from the Museum’s collection are on loan at 15 institutions throughout the United States and abroad.

Widely regarded as one of the most popular American illustrators in the first half of the 20th century, Maxfield Parrish (1870 — 1966) was renowned for his idealized neo-classical imagery, meticulous craftsmanship and luminous, richly saturated colors. In The Lantern Bearers, a group of Pierrot or clown figures ascend a set of stairs. The golden lanterns that they hold create a strong diagonal composition offset by a single sphere — the moon? — on the right. The clowns appear to be identical, suggesting the employment of simultaneous narrative, where multiple scenes from a sequence in time are presented in a single image.

“The detailed representational style juxtaposed with a flat, almost medieval sky create spatial ambiguities that are most interesting,” Bacigalupi said. “This work has a stage-set, dream-world quality that is compelling.”

Coy Ludwig, a leading Parrish scholar and author of Maxfield Parrish (1973), described The Lantern Bearers as “a stellar example of Maxfield Parrish's remarkable ability to combine imaginative design and dazzling technique to create an eye-catching and immediately appealing composition. Known primarily through reproductions, it is fortunate that The Lantern Bearers now has become part of a collection where its unique qualities only visible in the original painting may be enjoyed by the public."

Parrish achieved the glowing blues and yellows in this work by layering pure pigment and varnish repeatedly on a white ground, a time-consuming technique inspired by Old Master painters. He also took photographs and worked from them; the seated figure in the lower left of the painting is based on a photograph of Susan Lewin, a favorite model who was employed as a housekeeper in the Parrish household for many years.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to cultured parents who encouraged his talent, Maxfield Parrish attended Haverford College and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts before embarking on an artistic career that lasted more than half a century and helped to define the Golden Age of American illustration. Books illustrated by Parrish include L. Frank Baum’s Mother Goose in Prose (1897), Eugene Field’s Poems of Childhood (1904), The Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics (1911) and The Knave of Hearts (1925). Parrish’s work also graced the popular magazines of the day, including Harper’s Weekly, Life, Scribner’s Magazine, Century Magazine, St. Nicholas and Ladies’ Home Journal. The Lantern Bearers dates from a six-year exclusive contract with Collier’s magazine, an arrangement that gave Parrish the freedom to refine his technique. Parrish also designed advertisements for companies such as Jell-O, Colgate, Fisk Tires, Oneida Silversmiths, Wanamaker’s and General Electric.

In the 1920s Parrish turned his energy to making paintings to be sold as reproductions, favoring nudes in fantastic settings that were widely distributed through prints, posters and calendars that provided a comfortable income. After declaring “I’m done with girls on rocks!” to the Associated Press in 1931, Parrish focused on landscapes. He lived in Plainfield, N.H. and painted until four years before his death at age 95.

Maxfield Parrish’s work was featured most recently in Fantasies and Fairy-Tales: Maxfield Parrish and the Art of the Print, April 29 — July 11, 2010, organized by the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, N.Y. His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, N.Y.; the National Museum of American Illustration, Newport, R.I.; the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, N.H. and the Cornish Colony Museum, Windsor, Vt.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Support Central High School's art program: Shop tonight

    Call it #givingThursdayto Central High: The art faculty and students at Central High School are selling their work TONIGHT to raise money to buy art supplies for the school. The prices range from $1 up! There will also be a silent auction of work by Central High instructors Jason McCann, Amanda Heinbockel, Leron McAdoo, Loni Rainey, Stacey Mitchell, Don Enderson, Karen Terry and Rex DeLoney, and LRCH alumni Laura Raborn, Jennifer Perren, Lizzie Gillum and others.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Santa-sized 2nd Friday Art Night: Richard Leo Johnson, Rex Deloney, McLeod anniversary, the Nog-Off and more

    Prepare for a busy 2nd Friday Art Night tomorrow night, where folks will be celebrating Matt McLeod Fine Art's first anniversary, listening to the Arkansas Chamber Singers at the Old State House Museum, prefacing a performance by Richard Leo Johnson with an exhibition of his photographs at the Butler Center Galleries, hearing a talk and demonstration by Robert Bean about his creative process at Arkansas Capital Corp., and slinging back eggnog while seeing new works by Rex Deloney at the Historic Arkansas Museum. Read more about Johnson, the Chamber Singers and 2nd Friday Art Night here.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Pantry's Bohm buys Hillcrest Artisan Meats

    Tomas Bohm, owner of Czech and German eateries The Pantry in West Little Rock and The Pantry Crest in Hillcrest, will take over the space now occupied by Hillcrest Artisan Meats at 2807 Kavanaugh Blvd. next year. Brandon Brown and his wife, Tara Protiva-Brown, will continue to operate H.A.M. until the end of the year; Bohm hopes to reopen under a new name sometime in February.
    • Dec 6, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Staff Picks: Netflix and Chill, Benji's pasta fresca, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more

    The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.
    • Aug 28, 2015
  • Guest Mix: Rural War Room

    World wide weird duo Rural War Room (Donavan Suitt & Byron Werner) is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting and production here in Little Rock and abroad. RWR Radio on KABF 88.3 FM (10 p.m. Tuesdays or anytime on their website), features the duo alternating records in an effort to surprise one another.
    • Sep 14, 2015
  • Your new flags of Little Rock

    BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.
    • Sep 18, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation