A Finding Aid to the David Parrish Papers,
1940-2009, bulk 1964-1998, in the Archives of American Art, by Erin Kinhart
Table of Contents:
- Biographical Information
- Overview of the Collection
- How to Use the Collection
- Detailed Description and Container Inventory
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.
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:
- Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1970-2000 (Box 1; 8 folders)
- Series 2: Correspondence, 1964-2008 (Box 1, 5; 0.9 linear feet)
- Series 3: Photographs, 1940, 1960s-2009 (Boxes 1-2, 5; 0.4 linear feet)
- Series 4: Artwork, circa 1961-2002 (Boxes 2, 5; 5 folders)
- Series 5: Printed Material, 1962-2009 (Boxes 2-4; 1.5 linear feet)
Subjects and Names
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:
- French & Company (New York, N.Y.)
- George C. Marshall Space Flight Center--Officials and employees
- Nancy Hoffman Gallery
- University of Alabama--Students
- Artists' studios--Photographs
Types of Materials:
- Video recordings
- Eddy, Don, 1944-
- Hoffman, Nancy
- Janis, Sidney, 1896-1989
- Meisel, Louis K.
- Williams, Bob-interviewer
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.
Detailed Description and Container Inventory
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.
|1||1||Address List, undated|
"David Parrish Exhibition and Interview by Bob Williams" (1997), 1997-1998
|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|
(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.
|1||9||Card to David Parrish from Kay Parrish, circa 1993|
|1||10||Allied Publications, Inc., 1965|
|1||11||Art in America, 1973|
A, Miscellaneous, 1969-1985
B, Miscellaneous, 1969-1994
C, Miscellaneous, 1964-1982
D-E, Miscellaneous, circa 1975-1985
|1||16||French & Company, Inc. (Nancy Hoffman), 1971-1972|
F, Miscellaneous, 1977-1988
G, Miscellaneous, 1973-1994
|1||19||Huntsville Museum of Art, 1977-2003|
H, Miscellaneous, 1979-1994
|1||21||Journal of the American Medical Association, 1970|
J, Miscellaneous, 1974-1981
|1||23||Kaplan, Richard, 1975-1978|
K, Miscellaneous, 1969-1985
Lawson, Tom, 1998
(Oversized items housed in Box 5)
|1||26||Louis K. Meisel Gallery, 1978-2008|
L, Miscellaneous, 1969-1977
|1||28||Maltby Family, circa 1975-2000|
|1||29||Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 1979-1994|
|1||30||Morgan Art Gallery, 1978-1980|
M, Miscellaneous, 1975-1994
Nancy Hoffman Gallery, 1977-1985
|1||35||National Museum of American Art, 1980-1982|
|1||36||Norek, Justyn, 1976-1977|
N-P, Miscellaneous, 1979-1984
|1||38||Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1979-1981|
|1||39||Russell, Jeff, circa 1978-1987|
R-S, Miscellaneous, 1978-1993
|1||41||Schaul, Ellie, 1970-1983|
Sidney Janis Gallery, 1973-1976
|1||44||Skipper, Mr. and Mrs. G. C., 1978-1991|
|1||45||Society of Fine Arts, University of Alabama, 1993-1995|
T-V, Miscellaneous, 1977-2000
W, Miscellaneous, 1978-1984
Oversize Correspondence, Tom Lawson, 1998
(Oversized item from Box 1, Folder 25)
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.
Photographs of David Parrish, 1940, 1960s-circa 2000s
(Includes one baby photo, photos of Parrish with paintings, and official portraits)
|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|
Artwork, circa 1980s-2009
(3 folders; oversized items housed in Box 5)
|2||11||Slides of Artwork, circa 1971-1990s|
Oversize Photographs of Artwork, circa 1980s-2009
(Oversized items from Box 2, Folders 8-10)
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.
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|
Oversize Drawings of Marshall Space Flight Center, 1960s
(Oversized items from Box 2, Folder 12)
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.
|2||16||Art Now Gallery Guide, 1981, 1993-2003|
|2||17||Book, Contemporary American Realism Since 1960, Frank H. Goodyear, Jr., 1981|
Exhibition Announcements, 1969-2008
Exhibition Catalogs, 1962-1998
|3||1||Exhibition Posters, circa 1973-1984|
|3||2||Gallery Price Lists, 1998, undated|
|4||1||Magazines, 1993-1995, 2007|
|4||2||Museum Bulletins and Brochures, circa 1968-1990s|
Newspaper Clippings, 1967-1999, 2009, undated
|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|