Sunday, November 16, 2008

Maxfield Parrish and Alphonse Mucha

(Frederick) Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) created some of the most beautiful magazine covers ever published during the golden age of american illustration. They continue to be highly sought and valuable. His career has two distinct phases. Until 1930 he illustrated collectible prints, books and magazines. After this he turned his attention to calendar art, creating magnificent summer and winter scenes for Brown and Bigelow.

Parrish's magazine covers began with the Christmas 1895 issue of Harper's Bazar, employing a classic art nouveau motif. He went on to illustrate for many other magazines including Scribner's in the late 1890's, over a hundred covers for Collier's and six magnificent images for Hearst's in the early teens. The "frog prince" cover may be the most beautiful cover ever printed

While these are very hard to find, Parrish's covers for The Edison Sales Builder, a magazine made for sellers of Edison Mazda (later General Electric) products are extremely scarce. Some of Parrish's finest work are his paintings between 1918 and 1934 that grace the annual Edison Mazda calendars. It is these images that appear on the cover of the "Sales Builder".

Parrish also did fabulous work for the old humor Life Magazine. Many of these images also appeared on prints. Perhaps the most collectible Life cover is Humpty Dumpty, also on my top ten list of magazine art.

Alphonse Mucha was a master of art nouveau. His magazine work was limited and appeared primarily in french periodicals. He his do a few covers for american magazines. The ones for Burr McIntosh Monthly and Literary Digest are fairly easy to locate. The two for Hearst's are much, much scarcer. The image illustrated is my personal favorite of all magazines covers.

Enjoy the show!

1 comment:

Paul Allan Ballard said...

wow, thank you for the large scan of the Mucha cover. Recently discovered your blog and am enjoying it immensely