Maxfield Parrish (July 25, 1870 - March 30, 1966) was an American painter and illustrator.
"The Dinky Bird" from "Poems of Childhood", 1904Born as Frederick Parrish in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he began drawing for his own amusement from early on and, meeting with parental encouragement, acquired an artistic education and went on to pursue a career that was to last for many decades and effectively shape the Golden Age of illustration, and the future of American visual art in general.
Launched by a commission3 to illustrate Kenneth Grahame's The Walls Were as of Jasper in 1897, his repertoire was to include many prestigious projects such as Eugene Field's Poems of Childhood (1904, see illustration) and the traditional1 Arabian Nights (1909).
In the 1920s, Parrish turned away from illustration and concentrated mainly on painting for its own sake. Androgynous nudes in fantastical settings were an often recurring theme. He continued in this venue for the rest of his life, living comfortably off the royalties brought in by the production of posters and calendars featuring his works.
Parrish was famous for the dazzlingly luminous colors that marked much of his artwork; the shade "Parrish blue" was coined in acknowledgement. He achieved this result by means of a special technique involving several coats of oil and varnish applied to his paintings.
It is impossible to categorize Parrish's work, since he was part of no traditional movement or school, and developed a truly original style.