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Maxfield Parrish was the master of androgyny.

Parrish came from a family of artists, so it comes as no surprise that he hit the genetic jackpot with his artistic talents. He also seems to have picked up the stereotypical artistic leanings towards eccentricity, especially in his personal relationships-- Maxfield lived with both his wife AND his the same house. And in the 19th century, no less.

Maxfield’s career took off in 1897 when he was commissioned to illustrate L. Frank Baum’s Mother Goose. He soon became a well-respected fave among advertisers, illustrating for everyone from cutlery companies to Colgate. But despite the minty fresh appeal, Parrish quickly tired of this sort of commercial work and began specializing in androgynous nudes placed within fantasy worlds. The general public loved this stuff and purchased calendars and posters of Maxfield’s work en masse. 

In 1931, Parrish announced to the Associated Press that he was “done with girls on rocks” and began to shift towards illustrating landscapes. These were considerably less popular than his nudes (go figure) but he stuck to his guns and still managed to make a tidy profit. Of course, when Norman Rockwell calls you his idol you can pretty much paint whatever you want. 

But Rockwell wasn’t his only big-shot admirer-- the prices for Maxfield’s original paintings have recently skyrocketed as collectors swarm to get a piece of the Parrish pie. His most highly acclaimed work, Daybreak, sold for a whopping $7.6 million in 2006. This one featured a landscape AND an androgynous nude… the best of both worlds!

Sr. Editor

Parrish is a popular guy.

Commissioned to illustrate "Wizard of Oz" author L. Frank Baum's "Mother Goose in Prose" (1897). The books he did illustrations for are now highly sought after by collectors.

Parrish's most famous piece is privately owned (previously by Mel Gibson's wife) but nonetheless is actually fairly well known. Daybreak (1922) has outsold Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans and Leonardo's Last Supper and enough reprints have been made to be hung in one out of four American homes. Its imagery has been used in Michael Jackson's "You Are Not Alone" video  and the original movie poster for "The Princess Bride", among other things.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Maxfield Parrish

Maxfield Parrish (July 25, 1870 – March 30, 1966) was an American painter and illustrator active in the first half of the 20th century. He is known for his distinctive saturated hues and idealized neo-classical imagery. His career spanned fifty years and was wildly successful: the National Museum of American Illustration deemed his painting Daybreak (1922) to be the most successful art print of the 20th century.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Maxfield Parrish