- Maxfield Parrish
- Winter Night Landscape (Two Tall Pines)
- inscribed and numbered No. 172 by Maxfield Parrish, Jr. (on the reverse)
- oil on Masonite
- 18 1/2 by 16 inches
- (47 by 40.6 cm)
- Painted circa 1956-58.
Laurence S. Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler, Maxfield Parrish and the American Imagists, Edison, New Jersey, 2004, p. 295, illustrated
Parrish’s skill as a colorist is immediately apparent in the present work, in which each element of the scene is rendered with the calculated precision and intense palette that have become integral to his visual vocabulary. His artistic process was labor intensive; he carefully layered colored glazes over a white ground, to give the impression of light shining through the hues. The initial impact is powerful and immediate; though closer examination reveals an almost delicate quality. For Parrish, nature was infinitely complex, reflected in his meticulous painting style, and he strove to transcribe its transient beauty in his work: “those qualities which delight us in nature–the sense of freedom, 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” (Coy Ludwig, Maxfield Parrish, New York, 1973, p. 175).
Concurrent with this return to landscape as his primary subject, Parrish began to work in a smaller format, abandoning the 30 by 24 inch size he employed in the early 1930s. According to Coy Ludwig, “his smaller paintings seemed to him more aesthetically successful than his larger ones. It was a wise decision, for his brilliant, enamel-like surfaces and intricately detailed subjects called for the smaller size” (Ibid, p. 177).