A remarkably popular illustrator, Maxfield Parrish would be noted for initiating the "Golden Age" of illustration in American arts.
He had used drawing as a form of entertainment when just a child in Philadelphia, and his parents nurtured his skills by sending him to study first at Haverford College and then to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
By 1897 he received his first notable commission when he was asked to illustrate author L. Frank Baum's book "Mother Goose in Prose". From that point on the work poured in and Parrish would illustrate many more books throughout his career. Additionally, he was also serving as an illustrator for the most popular magazines of the period, including "Colliers" and "Life". He was also finding a great deal of work in advertising, creating images for everything from tires and lamps to cutlery.
By the 1920s he wanted to commit himself to easel painting on a more regular basis and began to create his notable nudes in their fantasy settings. By the 1930s he would leave figure work behind and focus primarily on landscapes. Many of his later paintings were converted into calendar art and poster prints.
Though he secreted himself away to a quiet corner of New Hampshire for the majority of his life, he nonetheless led a remarkably dramatic private life. Married for fifty eight years, he also maintained a romantic love affair with his model Susan Lewin for fifty five years of his life. He was considered remarkably handsome, and tremendously astute at business.
His paintings are not exhibited frequently, though his work is some of the most popular and recognized. His work is in many major collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh and the Cornish Colony Museum in Windsor, Vermont.