Maxfield Parrish ; 1870 -1966 Dream Days. Page size 15 x 19 cms.

Maxfield Parrish's name has become unfairly associated with the florid and the kitsch in American illustration. His works range from murals of impossibly ideal figures and landscapes to home town calendars with pin-up images in the Greek classical mould. In fact he is an illustrator and artist of wide range and accomplishment. His two early masterpieces in book illustration are Kenneth Graham's The Golden Age and Dream Days. In the former he created a still reverential world bordering on the edge of the caricatural. In the second, his stylised symmetrical compositions are neat equivalents of the Dream - and the Cooks at the Gate, an image that was to be exploited later by Maurice Sendak in The Night Kitchen .
Other works of excellence include Italian Villas and their Gardens and Poems of Childhood both of 1904. A major graphic achievement was a combination of the decorative with the figurative. The backgrounds pile up finicky detail, and the figures almost flatten against it.


To The Golden Age