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April, 1999: Spotlight on The Golden Age of Illustration

This month we look at the Golden Age of Illustration, generally considered to be the period between the late 1880's and about 1920. Technological progress had made it possible to reproduce artwork accurately and inexpensively, and there was a public demand for exceptional book and magazine illustration, much of which was geared towards younger readers. Heavily influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite artists, and especially by William Morris, many artists went beyond simple illustration to experiment with book design, designing elaborate decorative borders and custom fonts.
 
In Europe, Arthur Rackham, Walter Crane, Edmund Dulac, Aubrey Beardsley, and Kay Nielsen were among the greatest illustrators of this era. America's golden age was dominated by the Brandywine Valley tradition, which was begun by Howard Pyle and carried on by his students, who included N.C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, Edwin Austin Abbey, and Maxfield Parrish.
 
The featured artist for April is Maxfield Parrish, in his heydey one of the most successful artists in America. His trademarks are his elegant, timeless paintings and his masterful use of lush colors (especially "Parrish blue"). Click here for an annotated list of sites where his artwork can be seen on the Internet. Maxfield Parrish poster

 
The featured museum site is the Fine Arts Museums Of San Francisco. They have a truly vast database of 70,000 images online, and everything about their site screams that they (1) "get" the Internet, (2) are really interested in putting their collection online as a reference tool instead of as an advertisment, and (3) have the resources and commitment to do a really good job. Click here for a brief review of their site and to access their home page.

 
Treasure Island at Amazon.com The featured online exhibits are from gifts from Fern Canyon Press: the complete e-text of both Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe - both complete with N.C. Wyeth's illustrations.Click here to see a brief review of the site and to access the exhibits.
 
The featured books are the Wyeth editions of the same two classic books. This month we're applying the shareware concept to books: try before you buy.
Robinson Crusoe at Amazon.com

 
The featured print from AllPosters.com is Maxfield Parrish's beautiful Cinderella (Enchantment).
 
Cinderella (Enchantment)

 
Previous Features
  March, 1999
Vincent van Gogh
Artist: Vincent van Gogh
Museum: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Exhibit: The Vincent van Gogh Information Gallery
Book: Van Gogh's Van Goghs
Print: Terrasse de Cafe
  February, 1999
Great Art
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Museum: The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Exhibit: John Singleton Copley: Watson and the Shark
Book: The Sistine Chapel: A Glorious Restoration
Print: L'Astronomia, by Raphael