Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Parrish and Pyle

Maxfield Parrish is sometimes said to have been a student of Howard Pyle, but recollections by Frank Schoonover, in a 1966 interview, seem to indicate otherwise. Below: Parrish's Knave of Hearts.

The association between the two artists wasn’t exactly master and pupil. The two masters met briefly at the Drexel Institute, where Pyle was teaching an illustration course.

One afternoon, said Schoonover, “Maxfield Parrish was in the class, and I thought Mr. Pyle was so generous. He looked down and he said speaking to us young neophytes on the high stools in the back row, he said, ‘We have a new member of this group or I might say a visitor to the class, Maxfield Parrish, the painter. You’re all acquainted with this work, especially with his achievement of color.’ His Parrish blue, you know, it was known as ‘Maxfield Parrish Blue.’ So he said ‘Mr. Parrish, I’m deeply honored by your being here but I want to say this to you and to the others. In some ways I think our positions should be reversed. You should be here talking and I should be there listening to you.’”

Parrish didn’t stay in the class. According to Schoonover, he only appeared once.


Pyle image above and further discussion at the Howard Pyle blog:
“Master Jacob Proto Parrish”, where Ian Schoenherr explores the question of how Pyle influenced Parrish.

6 comments:

Mark Segal said...

Very interesting, I was reading about Pyle and N.C recently. The author also seemed to think Parrish was a student of Pyle.



I do like that quote by Pyle, "It is easy enough to learn to draw; it is very difficult to learn to think".

Peggasus said...

I love MP so much, he is one of my all-time favorites. I have (and have read) many books about him. When I was a painting student in college I experimented with the layered glazing techniques he used; failing miserably at them only enforced to me what a genius he was. I also named my first dog, a black Lab, Maxfield in his honor. Thanks for this.

Ian Schoenherr said...

I posted some evidence somewhat contrary to Schoonover's on my Pyle blog so as not to gum up the comments page here - in case anyone wants to read more on the topic.

Kat said...

The artwork of Maxfield Parrish is what made me want to paint in the first place. His illustrations for the Arabian Nights profoundly impressed me as a child. His art encapsulated all that was magical about art for me.

Mary Bullock said...

I absolutely LOVE Parrish!! I went to an exhibit of his paintings in Memphis several times and was just in awe of them. And like Peggasus, I too studied his glazing techniques - I updated them to incorporate Liquin instead of varnish and it works pretty well.

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Ian. Go to Ian's Post for evidence that Parrish may have stayed the winter in Pyle's class, rather than a single day.