Illustrator and painter Maxfield Parrish was born in Philadelphia in 1870. His father was a landscape painter as well as his first teacher; the two traveled to European museum, there painting and sketching together. During his studies in architecture, his teacher, illustrator Howard Pyle, became a major influence in his work. He created book covers and illustrations, before moving into oil painting. These luminous works with brilliant colors were achieved through a painstaking process of applying many layers of think oil that were alternated with varnish, atop stretched paper. His illustrations were creations of an idyllic harmonious world with a fairy tale ambience. Later work included a Tiffany glass and wire mural for The Saturday Evening Post headquarters. Rather than books and magazines, it was his landscape prints and calendars which brought Parrish wider exposure. He distributed print series, positioning the oil painting Daybreak (1922) as a fine art print, estimated to have been owned by one out of every five households in 1925. The original painting was sold in 1966 as the highest price ever paid for an American illustrator. His work is recognized through detail, composition and texture. His affinity for the utilization of a cobalt blue has altered the hue to be known as ‘Parrish Blue’. Parrish passed away in 1966 at his home and studio, in New Hampshire, surrounded by the oak trees that were portrayed in many of his paintings. Maxfield Parrish is considered the artist of the most reproduced work in the history of art.
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