David Parrish papers, 1940-2009, bulk 1964-1998

A Finding Aid to the David Parrish Papers, 1940-2009, bulk 1964-1998, in the Archives of American Art, by Erin Kinhart

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Biographical Information

David Parrish (1939-) is a Photorealist painter living in Huntsville, Alabama.

Parrish was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and received his B.F.A. from the University of Alabama in 1961. He briefly moved to New York with plans to become a magazine illustrator, but was unable to find a permanent job. He moved to Huntsville, Alabama in 1962 and became a technical illustrator for Hayes International Corporation. Parrish continued painting at his home studio, moving away from the painting style he learned in school, and instead working on paintings derived from photographs. He left his job as a technical illustrator in 1971 and became a full-time painter. That same year he joined French & Company in New York as a gallery artist and had his first one-man show at Brooks Memorial Art Gallery in Memphis, Tennessee.

During the 1970s Parrish saw success as a first generation photorealist. He was represented from 1973 to 1976 by Sidney Janis Gallery, and then moved to Nancy Hoffman Gallery. In 1987 he joined Louis K. Meisel Gallery, and is still represented by them today. Parrish's motorcycle paintings became his early trademark, and during the late 1980s into the 1990s he painted complex, intricate porcelain still lifes of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and other pop culture icons. Parrish has shown his work in numerous group and solo shows, including many international shows, and is in the permanent collection of many museums.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of Alabama photorealist painter David Parrish measure 3.1 linear feet and date from 1940 to 2009, with the bulk of the material from 1964 to 1998. Parrish's career is documented through scattered biographical material; correspondence with galleries, publishers, art organizations, and friends; photographs of Parrish, his studio, and artwork; original artwork by Parrish and others; and printed material.

Biographical material consists of resumes, one folder of financial records, brief artist statements written by David Parrish, and two essays about Parrish's works written by others. Also included is a VHS video recording of an interview with Parrish conducted by Bob Williams in 1997 in conjunction with an exhibition.

Correspondence is primarily of a professional nature and pertains to Parrish's relationships with various galleries, publishers, and arts organizations. Of note is correspondence with galleries that represented Parrish's work including French & Company, Sidney Janis, Nancy Hoffman, and Louis K. Meisel, and correspondence with fellow artist Don Eddy. Also included is a small amount of personal correspondence with friends and family.

Photographs of David Parrish include one baby photo, official portraits, photographs of him in his studio, with family and friends, and at exhibition openings. Also found are photographs and slides of his artwork, including gallery installations and early photographs of the interior of Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

Artwork includes a sketchbook kept by Parrish while a student at the University of Alabama, several ink drawings produced during his employment as a technical illustrator at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, and a few sketches by others. Printed material includes exhibition catalogs, announcements, and posters, newspaper clippings, press packets, and other gallery publications documenting Parrish's career as an artist.

Much of the material in the collection includes recent annotations by Parrish describing his involvement with the projects and exhibitions, and identifying friends and colleagues.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as 5 series:

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:

Subjects:

  • French & Company (New York, N.Y.)
  • George C. Marshall Space Flight Center--Officials and employees
  • Nancy Hoffman Gallery
  • University of Alabama--Students

Subjects-Topical:

  • Artists' studios--Photographs
  • Painters--Alabama
  • Photo-realism

Types of Materials:

  • Drawings
  • Essays
  • Interviews
  • Photographs
  • Resumes
  • Sketchbooks
  • Video recordings

Names:

  • Eddy, Don, 1944-
  • Hoffman, Nancy
  • Janis, Sidney, 1896-1989
  • Meisel, Louis K.
  • Williams, Bob-interviewer

Provenance

The collection was donated by David Parrish in 2009.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was processed to an intermediate level by Erin Kinhart in 2011.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of video recording requires advance notice.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The David Parrish papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

How to Cite this Collection

David Parrish papers, 1940-2009, bulk 1964-1998. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1970-2000
(Box 1; 8 folders)

This series contains scattered biographical material. Found here are four resumes, one folder of financial records including invoices and receipts, brief artist statements written by David Parrish, and two essays about Parrish's works written by others. Also included is a videocassette recording (VHS) of an interview with Parrish conducted by Bob Williams in 1997 in conjunction with an exhibition.

Box Folder
1 1 Address List, undated
1 2 "David Parrish Exhibition and Interview by Bob Williams" (1997), 1997-1998
(1 videocassette)
1 3 Financial Records, 1971-2000
1 4 Resumes, 1970, 1972
1 5 Resume for Louis K. Meisel Gallery, 1995
1 6 Resume for Nancy Hoffman Gallery, 1981
1 7 Writings by David Parrish regarding his artwork, undated
1 8 Writings by Others regarding David Parrish artwork, circa 1973, 1981

Series 2: Correspondence, 1964-2008
(Box 1, 5; 0.9 linear feet)

Within this series is correspondence primarily of a professional nature and pertains to Parrish's relationships with various galleries, publishers, and arts organizations. Topics of correspondence typically concern exhibitions and other art related events. Of note is correspondence with galleries that represented Parrish's work including French & Company, Sidney Janis, Nancy Hoffman, and Louis K. Meisel, and correspondence with fellow artist Don Eddy. Also included is a small amount of personal correspondence with friends and family.

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name with the exceptions of the first folder of the series which contains a birthday card to David Parrish from his wife Kay.

Box Folder
1 9 Card to David Parrish from Kay Parrish, circa 1993
1 10 Allied Publications, Inc., 1965
1 11 Art in America, 1973
1 12 A, Miscellaneous, 1969-1985
  • Alexander, Martha
  • American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters
  • Artists Against Nuclear Arms
  • artSouth
  • Awards in the Visual Arts
1 13 B, Miscellaneous, 1969-1994
  • Bamberg, Barrie
  • Beilin, Howard
  • Bernard Danenberg Galleries
  • Birmingham Art Association
  • Boise Art Museum
  • Boston Corporate Art
  • Bothwell, Joseph
  • Brain Trust, Inc.
  • Brooks Memorial Art Gallery
  • Butler Institute of American Art
1 14 C, Miscellaneous, 1964-1982
  • Cabral, Edward
  • Capricorn Galleries
  • Charman, Montague
  • Cinecorp
  • City of Huntsville
  • Cleveland Institute of Art
  • Cohen, Byron
  • Costello, Irene
  • Crandell, Mrs. George McCord
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
1 15 D-E, Miscellaneous, circa 1975-1985
  • Dempsey, Jack and Debbie
  • Eddy, Don
  • Edith C. Blum Art Institute
  • Emporia State University
  • Escalmel, Francois
1 16 French & Company, Inc. (Nancy Hoffman), 1971-1972
1 17 F, Miscellaneous, 1977-1988
  • Fagaly, William A.
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Felt, Joanne
  • Fisher, Mildred
  • Fisher, Robert
  • Flint Institute of Art
  • Friedman, Marvin Ross
1 18 G, Miscellaneous, 1973-1994
  • Galerie Des 4 Mouvements
  • Grable, Beverly
  • Gray, Michael (includes photograph of David Parrish)
  • Green, John
  • Greenville County Museum of Art
  • Grisham, Betty
1 19 Huntsville Museum of Art, 1977-2003
1 20 H, Miscellaneous, 1979-1994
  • Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
  • Haws, Mrs. Frank Phillip
  • Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County
  • Hochmann, J.
  • Howe, Maureen
  • Huntsville Symphony Orchestra
1 21 Journal of the American Medical Association, 1970
1 22 J, Miscellaneous, 1974-1981
  • J. B. Lippincott Company
  • Jordan, Rudy
1 23 Kaplan, Richard, 1975-1978
1 24 K, Miscellaneous, 1969-1985
  • Kahan, Mitchell
  • Kansas City Art Institute
  • Kayo News
  • Kissick, Kathleen
  • Klein, E. L.
  • Kinpit, Donald
1 25 Lawson, Tom, 1998
(Oversized items housed in Box 5)
1 26 Louis K. Meisel Gallery, 1978-2008
1 27 L, Miscellaneous, 1969-1977
  • La Medusa
  • Les Editions De La Revue Moderne
  • Linesch, Corinne Skinner
1 28 Maltby Family, circa 1975-2000
1 29 Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 1979-1994
1 30 Morgan Art Gallery, 1978-1980
1 31 M, Miscellaneous, 1975-1994
  • Maralyn Wilson Gallery
  • McDaris Exhibit Group
  • Meiers, Mrs. J. Fred
  • Mississippi Art Association
  • Moreno-Lacalle, Peter
  • Motor 16
  • Mount Holyoke College
1 32-34 Nancy Hoffman Gallery, 1977-1985
(3 Folders)
1 35 National Museum of American Art, 1980-1982
1 36 Norek, Justyn, 1976-1977
1 37 N-P, Miscellaneous, 1979-1984
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Orr, Marcus
  • Philip Morris, Inc.
1 38 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1979-1981
1 39 Russell, Jeff, circa 1978-1987
1 40 R-S, Miscellaneous, 1978-1993
  • Richards, Norm
  • San Antonio Museum Association
  • San Jose State University
  • Sheinkopf, Paul R.
  • Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art
  • Spacex '89 Exhibition
  • Sparks, Mrs. H. Claxton
  • Stewart, Boardman
1 41 Schaul, Ellie, 1970-1983
1 42-43 Sidney Janis Gallery, 1973-1976
(2 folders)
1 44 Skipper, Mr. and Mrs. G. C., 1978-1991
1 45 Society of Fine Arts, University of Alabama, 1993-1995
1 46 T-V, Miscellaneous, 1977-2000
  • Taylor, Jacqueline (Westpac Gallery)
  • Uhlich, Robert Steadman
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of Tennessee
  • Visual Publications
1 47 W, Miscellaneous, 1978-1984
  • W. C. Bradley Co.
  • Warren, Jo Anne
  • Westbury Graphics
  • Who's Who in American Art
Box
5 Oversize Correspondence, Tom Lawson, 1998
(Oversized item from Box 1, Folder 25)

Series 3: Photographs, 1940, 1960s-2009
(Box 1-2, 5; 0.4 linear feet)

Photographs of David Parrish include one baby photo, official portraits, photographs of him in his studio, with family and friends, and at exhibition openings. Also found are photographs of his artwork, including gallery installations and early photographs of the interior of Nancy Hoffman Gallery. This series also includes some photographs sent to Parrish from his friend and fellow artist Jeff Russell. Most of these photographs include annotations written on the back by Parrish.

Photographs are arranged by subject matter.

Box Folder
1 48-52 Photographs of David Parrish, 1940, 1960s-circa 2000s
(5 folders)
(Includes one baby photo, photos of Parrish with paintings, and official portraits)
Box Folder
2 1 David Parrish in His Studio, 1984
2 2 Family Photographs, 1984-1985
2 3 Exhibition Openings, circa 1990s
2 4 Exhibitions, 2004, 2009
2 5 Nancy Hoffman Gallery, circa 1970s
2 6 Jeff Russell's Studio and Summer House, circa 2009
2 7 Artwork, "Jack" Painting in Studio, circa 1993
2 8-10 Artwork, circa 1980s-2009
(3 folders; oversized items housed in Box 5)
2 11 Slides of Artwork, circa 1971-1990s
Box
5 Oversize Photographs of Artwork, circa 1980s-2009
(Oversized items from Box 2, Folders 8-10)

Series 4: Artwork, circa 1961-2002
(Box 2, 5; 5 folders)

Artwork includes a sketchbook kept by Parrish while a student at the University of Alabama, several ink drawings produced during his employment as a technical illustrator at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, and ink sketches by his mother, Jemima Parrish. Also found is a diagram sketched by Jeff Russell.

Box Folder
2 12 Drawings for Marshall Space Flight Center, 1960s
(Oversized items housed in Box 5)
2 13 Sketchbook, circa 1961
2 14 Ink Sketches by Jemima Parrish, 2002, undated
2 15 Drawing by Jeff Russell, "How to Build the Frank Owens Stretcher," undated
Box
5 Oversize Drawings of Marshall Space Flight Center, 1960s
(Oversized items from Box 2, Folder 12)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1962-2009
(Box 2-4; 1.5 linear feet)

Printed material includes exhibition publications, such as catalogs, announcements, and posters, newspaper clippings, press packets, and other gallery publications. Most of the material found here documents Parrish's career, and often he includes a handwritten note with the publication describing his involvement. Some catalogs and announcements are for exhibitions which Parrish attended but did not participate.

Folders are arranged alphabetically by type of material. Items within each folder are arranged chronologically.

Box Folder
2 16 Art Now Gallery Guide, 1981, 1993-2003
2 17 Book, Contemporary American Realism Since 1960, Frank H. Goodyear, Jr., 1981
2 18-20 Exhibition Announcements, 1969-2008
(3 folders)
2 21-29 Exhibition Catalogs, 1962-1998
(9 folders)
Box Folder
3 1 Exhibition Posters, circa 1973-1984
3 2 Gallery Price Lists, 1998, undated
3 3-6 Magazines, 1966-1985
(4 folders)
Box Folder
4 1 Magazines, 1993-1995, 2007
4 2 Museum Bulletins and Brochures, circa 1968-1990s
4 3-9 Newspaper Clippings, 1967-1999, 2009, undated
(7 folders)
4 10 Press Packet for David Parrish: Photorealism, 1996
4 11 Press Packet for The Detailed Image, 1986
4 12 Press Releases, 1979, 2000
4 13 Proofs for Exhibition Catalog, David Parrish at Louis K. Meisel Gallery, circa 1990
4 14 Tear Sheets for Louis K. Meisel Gallery, 1989
4 15 Website Printouts, Louis K. Meisel Gallery, 1998