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Maxfield Parrish's 'Study for Janion's Maple' highlights Bonhams American Art Sale
Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966), Study for Janion's Maple (Under Summer Skies), circa 1956, oil on paper laid down on board (estimate: $120,000-180,000). Photo: Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- On November 20, Bonhams will offer Maxfield Parrish’s Study for Janion's Maple (Under Summer Skies), dated circa 1956, as a highlight of the American Art sale. Maxfield Parrish is a name synonymous with the Golden Age of Illustration in American Art. His body of work represents some of the most widely recognized images of the 20th century, including his public mural commissions and his familiar storybook illustrations. The sale will also feature vibrant works by Tomas Moran, Marsden Hartley, and Sanford Robinson Gifford.

For nearly thirty years beginning in 1934, Parrish was a contributing illustrator for Brown and Bigelow, the calendar and greeting card company in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The featured painting (estimate: $120,000-180,000) is a richly-colored preliminary oil study for a larger work produced in 1956 and published in the 1959 Brown and Bigelow calendar. The artist favored landscape subject matter and devoted particular obsession to his depiction of nature and all its forms. He once remarked, “‘Only God can make a tree.’ True enough, but I'd like to see him paint one… Give me a hundred years more and I really think I can paint a tree that satisfies me.” His ability to articulate light and shadow elevate his landscape subjects as the artist's most impressive body of work.

Leading a selection of 19th century works is Thomas Moran’s, Setting Sun at Sea (estimate: $200,000-300,000). The painting successfully illustrates the artist’s expert use of color to varying degrees, where light and dark exist in harmony the electric hues of pink, yellow and orange in this work recall some of Moran’s more familiar Yellowstone and Grand Canyon landscapes.

Additional top lots include Sanford Robinson Gifford’s picturesque On the Roman Campagna (estimate: $30,000-50,000), and Marden Hartley’s, Dogtown (estimate: $200,000-300,000), a landscape featuring the stark white glacial boulder formations of Dogtown, in Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Hartley called the area “a cross between Easter Island and Stonehenge—essentially druidic in its appearance—it gives the feeling that an ancient race might turn up at any moment and renew an ageless rite there.”

Additional highlights:

• Milton Avery (1885-1965), Untitled (Portrait of David Burliuk and His Wife), 1939, oil on canvas (estimate: $80,000-120,000)

• Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880), On the Roman Campagna, 1856, (estimate: $30,000-50,000)

• George Benjamin Luks (1867-1933), Study for Otis Skinner as Colonel Philippe Bridau, circa 1919, oil on canvas (estimate: $30,000-50,000)

These works will preview at Bonhams New York on November 17-19 and the auction will be held November 20 at 10 a.m. EST.

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