Stephen Parrish Information and Inventory

Stephen Parrish

(1846 - 1938)

Stephen Parrish


With few exceptions, I’m not tempted by etchings, although I appreciate the pure drawing skills required. However, when I saw this oversized, very well-composed and drawn Gloucester Harbor scene, I relented and purchased it from a dealer/ book publisher in 1998. Stephen Parrish was Maxfield Parrish’s father and an accomplished artist in his own right. Of Quaker parents who frowned upon frivolous activities like drawing, Stephen had to struggle to achieve his desire to be a painter. After three years of painting in oils with few sales, he began studying etching with Peter Moran in Philadelphia, and his natural drawing skills made him an accomplished etcher in a remarkably short time. Although Parrish developed his ability as an oil painter, he found during the 1880s that etchings were extremely popular in the United States and he, along with J. A. M. Whistler and his friend and student Charles Platt, were the most popular etchers in the country. He completed 170 etchings during almost a decade of work in Gloucester, and forty-two of them were Cape Ann subjects. These works were exhibited widely across the United States and sold very well, certainly bringing affordable works of art to “the masses.” It is through the medium of etching that Stephen Parrish has preserved a place for himself in the canon of American art—that and being Maxfield’s father.

Stephen Parrish Gallery

No paintings by this author