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.
The Golden Age