Lot 34
  • 34

MAXFIELD PARRISH | Village School House

700,000 - 1,000,000 USD
884,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Maxfield Parrish
  • Village School House
  • signed Maxfield Parrish and dated 1937 (lower left); also titled village School house (on the reverse)
  • oil on Masonite


Olive Moyer, Lyonsdale, New York, 1955 (acquired directly from the artist)
Walter Pratt, Boonville, New York, 1959 (bequest from the above)
Hazel Northam, Brooklyn, New York, 1965 (by descent)
Pratt Northam Foundation, Lowville, New York, 1972 (gift from the above; sold: Sotheby's, New York, December 5, 1996, lot 177)
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale


Syracuse, New York, Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse & Onondaga County, 1967-1996 (on extended loan)
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Brandywine River Museum, Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make-Believe, May-September 1974, no. 82, p. 37
Southampton, New York, Parrish Art Museum, The Dream World of Maxfield Parrish, June-July 1975
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, The Natural Paradise: Painting in America, 1800-1950, September-November 1976, no. 115, n.p.
Roslyn Harbor, New York, Nassau County Museum of Art, American Realism Between the Wars, April-June 1994, p. 63


Coy Ludwig, Maxfield Parrish, New York, 1973, no. 767, p. 219, illustrated p. 169 (as The Country Schoolhouse)

Catalogue Note

In 1931, at the height of his popularity in America, Maxfield Parrish issued a statement to the Associated Press announcing his decision to abandon the figurative work that had made him a household name. Now, he declared, he was devoting himself exclusively to landscape painting: “I’m done with girls on rocks. I have painted them for thirteen years and I could paint them and sell them for thirteen more…It’s the unattainable that appeals. Next best thing to seeing the ocean or the hills or the woods is enjoying a painting of them" (as quoted in Laurence S. Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler, Maxfield Parrish: A Retrospective, San Francisco, California, 1995, p. 14).

As a result of this decision, the magical, detailed landscapes previously seen only as backgrounds for his figurative works now became the primary subject of his work. Goddesses and nymphs were replaced by another ideal—the mountains, lush meadows, grand oak trees, open blue skies, and humble dwellings that characterized the American landscape. Painted in 1937, Village School House exemplifies the vision of a pastoral Eden that, as a resident of rural New Hampshire, Parrish held in high esteem. Here he depicts a simple white clapboard schoolhouse nestled at the top of a wooded path. The jewel-like color the artist’s most successful works achieve is plainly demonstrated in the luminous palette of verdant green and brilliant blue that characterizes the painting. The crystalline quality of the light—one of Parrish's primary aesthetic interests—suffuses the composition with a radiant glow, contributing to a tranquil, idyllic vision of his beloved New England home, the place he once described as “Such an ideal country, so paintable and beautiful, so far away from everything—and a place to dream one’s life away…I long to be up there and become identified with it” (as quoted in Sylvia Yount, Maxfield Parrish: 1879-1966, New York, 1999, p. 23).