Alma Gilbert-Smith, a prolific author and art historian considered to be the leading authority on the works of American painter Maxfield Parrish, will be on hand to offer insights into the Master of Make-Believe as special guest for the next program in the Tyler Museum of Art
s Spring Lecture Series.
The program, titled Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make-Believe and American Icon of the 20th Century and presented in conjunction with the new TMA exhibition Maxfield Parrish: The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Murals, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14 in Tyler Junior Colleges Jean Browne Theatre. A book signing will follow. Tickets are free for TMA members, $5 for students and seniors, and $7 for adult non-members. For reservations, call (903) 595-1001.
Having a specialist on Maxfield Parrish of Alma Gilbert-Smiths stature join us for the Spring Lecture Series is a wonderful opportunity, TMA Director Kimberley Bush Tomio said. Its difficult to find anyone in the art world who knows Parrish more intimately than Alma, who has written a definitive catalog as well as numerous other books on his life and work and actually lives in the artists historic home.
Gilbert-Smith, founder and executive director emeritus of the Cornish Colony Museum in Windsor, Vermont, is the author of 13 books to date on Parrish, as a result of more than four decades devoted to the legacy of the American icon who challenged the conventions of the day and indelibly changed the way art could be reproduced.
An art collector since the 1950s, she worked for more than a decade as a medical technologist (with research specializing in the treatment of asthmatic children) before embarking on a 27-year career from 1969 to 1996 operating two investment art galleries, during which she sold most of Parrishs major paintings including the celebrated Daybreak. In 1978, she opened the non-profit Maxfield Parrish Museum in the artists home, The Oaks, in Plainfield, New Hampshire, and would oversee the institution for the eight years. Although The Oaks no longer remains open to the public as a museum, Gilbert-Smith maintains the historic Parrish estate as her own residence.
In 1998 she established the Cornish Colony Museum, dedicated to exhibiting works by members of the famed artists community (including Parrish, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Frederic Remington and Thomas Dewing), and continues to serve as its director. Gilbert-Smith has curated more than 30 Parrish exhibitions in the U.S. (plus several more in Japan), including Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make-Believe for the Trust for Museum Exhibitions in Washington, D.C., which traveled the U.S. during 2005-2006, and has been named guest curator for a national touring exhibition featuring Cornish Colony artists in 2010-2011.
In 1980, she was invited by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the U.S. congressional advisory board for Commerce and the Arts, a post she held for three years. Other notable accolades in the scholars 40-year career include charter membership in the International Society of Fine Art Appraisers, Inc.; citations in publications such as Whos Who in American Art and Whos Who of American Women; and a 2007 lifetime-achievement induction into the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.