DescriptionMAXFIELD PARRISH (American 1870-1966)
Sugar Hill, Late Afternoon, 1930
Oil on prepared board
25 x 30-1/2 inches (63 x 76 cm)
Signed and dated lower right: Maxfield Parrish 1930
Titled, inscribed, dated and signed verso: Sugar Hill:Late Afternoon/Plainfield, New Hampshire/1930/Maxfield Parrish
Estate of the Artist;
Eli Lily Collection (Indianapolis, Indiana);
Private Collection (Tennessee)
Letter of authentication from Maxfield Parrish, Jr. dated July 19, 1975; Letter from the same to Rosalind Mikesell, discussing a photograph of his father's studio dating from about 1932 in which the painting appears, dated July 19, 1975; Bruce Weber, American Paintings IX (New York: Berry-Hill Galleries, 2001), pp, 110-111 (reproduced)
Sugar Hill, Late Afternoon was painted in 1930 and records a view of the hill behind Parrish's property in the central New Hampshire town of Plainfield where he lived from 1898 until his death in 1966. Parrish, an enormously successful illustrator, developed a serious interest in landscape painting during the course of the 1930s, which intensified as the result of a particular commission: in 1934 the firm of Brown and Bigelow engaged him to paint summer and winter scenes of his own choosing for a series of calendars. As Alma Gilbert has noted, during the last thirty years of his life Parrish 'sought to capture the tranquil, idyllic settings of the spectrally picturesque New England area where he lived' (Alma Gilbert, Maxfield Parrish: The Masterbooks (Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press, 1995], p. 168).
Parrish purposefully sought to make his images direct and eye-catching. He consistently gave equal attention to all details in his compositions in order to achieve 'a quality of reality and consequently a beauty of truth' (Coy Ludwig, Maxfield Parrish [New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1973], p. 145). Parrish felt that 'pure air and light, the magic of distance, and the saturated beauty of color, must be convincingly stated and take the beholder to the very spot.' In 1952, Parrish summed up his philosophy on realism as it applied to landscape painting: "Realism should never be the end in view. My theory is that you should use all the objects in nature, trees, hills, skies, rivers, and all, just as stage properties on which to hang your idea, the end in view, the elusive quality of a day, in fact all the qualities that give a body the delights of out of doors. You cannot sit down and paint such things: they are not there, or do not last but for a moment. 'Realism' of impression, the MOOD of the moment, yes. But not the realism of THINGS. The colored photograph can do that better" (Letter to Jerome Conally, May 5, 1952, Parrish Family Papers, cited in Alma Gilbert, Maxfield Parrish: The Masterworks (Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press, 1995], p. 170).
Normal signs of wear as appropriate with age and minor scattered strengthening; with a 1-1/2 (at its tallest) x 5 inch area of strenthening in the lower left quadrant; craquelure throughout and strong colors.
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