Maxfield Parrish

Facts about Maxfield Parrish

Maxfield Parrish died at 95 years old
Born: July 25, 1870
Died: March 30, 1966
Best known as: 1920s painter of luminous fantasy posters


Maxfield Parrish Biography

Name at birth: Frederick Parrish

Maxfield Parrish was a painter and illustrator whose magazine covers and posters made him one of America’s richest and best known artists in the first part of the 20th century.

His distinctive style included fantasy scenes of maidens, characterized by meticulous detail and luminous colors.

Maxfield Parrish was the son of Philadelphia painter Stephen Parrish, and was exposed to art and European culture from an early age. Maxfield studied architecture and art, and had his first exhibit as an artist in 1894.

By the turn of the century, Parrish was well-known for his magazine covers and book illustrations, and had won a national poster competition. His illustrations were so popular that by 1920, Parrish was a rich man.

After 1930, he moved away from illustrations to concentrate on landscape paintings. His technique of painting layer upon layer of paint and varnish gave a “glow” to his work that gave his fantasy scenes an even dreamier look.

After his death in 1966, his work became popular once again, and since then Maxfield Parrish has been a staple of poster shops and greeting card racks.


Extra credit

The model for many of his paintings was Susan Lewin, who in 1905 became nanny to Maxfield Parrish’s son. After his wife left him in 1911, Parrish and Lewin stayed together as a couple for another fifty years… His painting, Daybreak, one of his most recognizable, sold in 2006 for $7.6 million.


Something in Common with Maxfield Parrish