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Painting, 1922, 67.3×114.3 cm

Description of the artwork «Dawn»

"Dawn"- one of the most famous and popular paintings by an American artist, this is a real phenomenon of commercial success. The history of the creation of the work is as follows. In 1920, Stephen Newman of The House of Art made the artist order for a great job. Burdened with work, Parrish could start the picture only two years later, although he assured the customers that "a beautiful white panel prepared for her is always on the wall in front of me ..." "Dawn", painted with oil paints on a wooden board in Parrish's proprietary technique, was handed over to the customer by December 1922.

Parrish's secret was the gradual elaboration of the painting, thorough brush strokes and intermediate varnishing of the work. So he created his famous turquoise color of heaven: mixing cobalt blue and white primer, he covered them with varnish, which under the influence of ultraviolet gave the lower layer of paint a yellow-green tinge. In honor of the artist, this almost unreal shade of heavenly blue was named after him - "Parrish Blue". When the artist finished the next picture, - on its smooth surface there was not a single brushstroke visible.

However, the guarantee of success of the picture is not only in the technique of its execution. Perfection of composition and exciting plot are important components. "I know that the public wants a story to know more about the picture than the picture tells it," the artist noted. "But, in my opinion, if the picture does not tell its own story, it's better to have a story without a picture ... picture says all that is necessary for itself, there is nothing more. "

Three years later, one of Parrish's contemporaries wrote: "In 1925, one of every four families in the United States was the owner of a copy of Parrish's painting in his living room. The number of its reproductions has surpassed the pictures of any other artist of this time, with the exception of worksCezanne and Van Gogh". The lithographs of Breaking Dawn left work circulationsAndy Warhol and Leonardo da Vinci, bringing the firm Reinthal & Newman huge profits. The original was purchased by an anonymous buyer and it disappeared from the public view; however, the number of lithographic copies completely compensated for the lack of the opportunity to admire the original. Only fifty years later it became known that "Dawn" became the property of William Jennings Bryan, a prominent politician and representative of the populist wing of the Democratic Party. Brian paid a large sum for the painting and did not want his image of a fighter for the rights of the poor to be spoiled by such an expensive purchase. Brian's granddaughter - Katie Spence - was one of Parrish's favorite models; from it, he drew the figure of a lying girl, and for the bared nude bending over her the artist's daughter Jane posed, who later became a landscape painter.

It was Dawn that broke the price record for Parrish's paintings: in 2006, the work was sold at Christie's auction for $ 7.6 million, and the wife of actor Mel Gibson, Robin, acquired the painting. Four years later, the picture moved to another private collection, but for a smaller amount - "only" for 5.2 million. Maxfield Parrish's "Dawn" was one of the storylines in the clip of Michael Jackson's "You Are Not Alone" (1995).
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape, Nude, Genre scene

Style of art: Symbolism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Wood

Date of creation: 1922

Size: 67.3×114.3 cm

Artwork in selections: 5 selections

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