Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966)
Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966)
Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966)
Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966)
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Modern Icons: Property from an Important Private Collection
MAXFIELD PARRISH (1870-1966)

Dingleton Farm

Details
MAXFIELD PARRISH (1870-1966)
Dingleton Farm
signed and dated 'Maxfield Parrish 1956' (lower right)—signed and dated again (on a label affixed to the reverse)
oil on gessoed masonite
11 1⁄2 x 15 1⁄2 in. (29.2 x 39.4 cm.)
Painted in 1956.
Provenance
Private collection, California.
Private collection, by descent from the above.
Alma Gilbert Gallery, California and New Hampshire, acquired from the above, 1973.
Christie's, New York, 30 November 2006, lot 133, sold by the above.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
Literature
C. Ludwig, Maxfield Parrish, New York, 1973, no. 842.
A. Gilbert, Maxfield Parrish: The Masterworks, Berkeley, California, 1992, p. 213.
W. Holland, D. Cogden-Martin, The Collectible Maxfield Parrish, Atglen, Pennsylvania, 1993, p. 147, illustrated.
E. Flacks, Maxfield Parrish: Identification and Price Guide, Portland, Oregon, 1998, p. 97, illustrated.
Exhibited
Boston, Massachusetts, Vose Galleries, 1973.
San Mateo, California, La Galeria, 1974.
Cornish, New Hampshire, Cornish Colony Museum, 2003-04.
Palm Beach, Florida, The Society for the Four Arts; Reno, Nevada, Nevada Museum of Art; San Diego, California, The San Diego Museum of Art; Savannah, Georgia, Telfair Museum of Art; Huntsville, Alabama, Huntsville Museum of Art; Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis Brooks Museum, Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make-Believe, January 21, 2005-May 7, 2006, pp. 103, 110, 131, 134, no. 58, illustrated.
Windsor, Vermont, Cornish Colony Museum, Coming Home: A Retrospective Exhibit of Parrish, Manship, Faulkner and Zorach, May-October 2006, p. 9, illustrated.

Brought to you by

Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

Lot Essay

While celebrated for his illustrative works, Maxfield Parrish's true passion lied in his later landscapes. Parrish began to focus on landscape painting after the triumph of his masterwork Daybreak (1926, private collection) afforded him commercial success and financial security. Brilliant in color, form and detail, Dingleton Farm represents the artist at the apex of his craft and embodies Parrish’s fellow illustrator, Norman Rockwell, feelings on the artist: “Maxfield Parrish was certainly one of our most prominent illustrators and hardly a home in America existed that didn’t have a Maxfield Parrish print. He was in the Golden Age of Illustration. When I was in art school I admired him. He was one of my gods.” Depicting a neighbor’s house in Cornish, New Hampshire, Dingleton Farm exemplifies the remarkable landscape paintings which cemented Parrish’s legacy as a first-rate American artist.

Parrish began experimenting with landscape painting in the 1890s, painting and sketching around Cape Ann, Massachusetts and introducing landscape elements into his magazine and book illustrations. The turn of the century brought two consecutive commissions from Century Magazine, which had a profound effect on his landscape painting. During the winters of 1901-02 and 1902-03, Parrish traveled around Arizona and Parrish was immediately fascinated by the region’s brilliant range of color and dramatic light which created impressive effects against the unusual terrain. In between trips to the Southwest, Parrish went on another influential excursion, this time to Italy where he spent three months observing and gathering material to illustrate Edith Wharton's Italian Villas and Their Gardens. As in his best landscapes, Dingleton Farm exhibits the influence of both these Southwestern and Italian sojourns. While the terrain and structures of Dingleton Farm indicate a New England landscape, the blue-violet mountains and pinkish-orange highlights are particularly reminiscent of Parrish’s Southwestern palette.

Seeking to imbue his paintings with an ethereal sense of wonder, Parrish preferred to work in his studio rather than paint en plein air. Indeed, the success of Dingleton Farm is, in large part, due to Parrish's time-consuming glazing technique inspired from the Old Master tradition. Beginning with a white ground, the artist layered pure pigment and varnish repeatedly to achieve the brilliant incandescence of a snow-covered landscape at dawn, including a hue known as “Parrish Blue” amongst his colleagues. The result in paintings such as Dingleton Farm is a masterful exhibition of light and color in the potent purple mountains and warm golden rays of dawn. Indeed, the artist expressed his aims concerning color, "Probably that which has a greater hold on me than any other quality is color. I feel it is a language but little understood; much less so than it used to be. To be a great colorist that is my modest ambition. I hope someday to express the child's attitude towards nature and things; for that is the purest and most unconscious." (Maxfield Parrish Papers, Hanover, New Hampshire)

Dingleton Farm exhibits all of the hallmarks in subject and technique that are found in Parrish’s best landscape paintings. Parrish explained his approach to landscape painting, which comes to fruition in Dingleton Farm: “I feel that the broad effect, the truth of nature's mood attempted, is the most important, has more appeal than the kind of subject. ‘Broad effect’ is a rather vague term, but what is meant is that those qualities which delight us in nature—the sense of freedom, pure air and light, the magic of distance, and the saturated beauty of color, must be convincingly stated and take the beholder to the very spot. If these abstract qualities are not in a painting it is a flat failure.” (as quoted in Maxfield Parrish, New York, 1973, p. 175) Indeed, Parrish's passionate attention to detail in the presentation of the majestic topography of Dingleton Farm manifests his life-long interest in the effect of light on nature.
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