Today, with the prices for early Parrish prints in the hundreds of dollars, collectors have turned to the works of R. Atkinson Fox to capture a similar decorative look and feel-- often at more affordable prices. I've managed to get Fox prints for as little as $5-$65 at flea markets, antique malls and those rare times they show up at thrift stores. Antique shops most often will price them at around $125, though they can be seen well up to $300, the common price for a Parrish. (And no, I do not buy them then--as you know, I am cheap.)
The subject matter of R. Atkinson Fox prints touches on many of the elements we're familiar with in Parrish paintings. The craggy orange mountains in the background... the paintbrush shaped trees... the "enchanted" girls lounging in magical settings... the skies and water of amazing blue.
Vendors can often be seen implying a Fox or other imitator is a Maxfield Parrish (I've lost count the amount of times I've seen a Van Nortwick or Robert Wood listed as, "Fox? Parrish?" and sporting a hefty price tag, as well!)
But you can see a difference between the typical Parrish print and those of R. Atkinson Fox. Parrish's work has a bit more interaction with the characters in the scene. They tend to seem more expressive and engaged with telling a story, whereas Fox's girls tend to have less expression and interaction, are often solitary and appear to be there more for aethetic purposes rather than the emotion they convey. Often, too, they are seen more at a distance than Parrish's characters.
Here for instance is Parrish's The Lute Players...
And this is Fox's Sunset Dreams...
Notice the Greek toga-styled costuming of the girls in Parrish's print, while Fox's girl is in dress typical of the 1920s/30s. This isn't always a way to tell them apart, but it's a useful cue.
You can see the use of distance at work here in Fox's The Valley of Enchantment...
This picture is more about the beauty of the garden and the figures with the pigeons than it is about telling a particular story.
In additon to the "enchanted girl" prints which are my personal favorites, Fox painted hundreds of landscapes, rural scenes, cows, dogs, horses, portraits, western art, hunting scenes, and historical figures.
And for Fox collectors, one of the most intriguing-- and challenging-- facets of his work is that a portion of it does not even appear under his own name. The book R. Atkinson Fox and William M. Thompson Identification and Price Guide by Patricia L. Gibson lists a number of pseudonyms under which Fox painted-- sometimes at the publisher's request to make it appear the publisher had a wider range of artists working for them. And sometimes simply because Fox didn't care for how the painting had turned out and didn't want his name on it.
Known Fox pseudonyms include:
- J.H. Banks
- G. Blanchard Carr or B. Carr
- John Colvin or J. Colvin
- Arthur DeForest or simply DeForest
- Elmer Lewis
- Muson, H. Musson, Ed. Musson or Edw. Musson
- George W. Turner
- Wainright, Charles Wainright, Chs. Wainright, C.N. Wainwright, C. Wainright, C. Wain, F. Wainright, Thos. Wainright or simply Wainwright
- George White, George W. White, George White
- George Wood
Note, George Hood, Robert Wood and George Hacker are NOT R. Atkinson Fox pseudonyms-- they are separate artists who often employ a similar style.
Confusing, I know!!
For more information on R. Atkinson Fox, check out the R. Atkinson Fox Society here. They're an avid group of collectors and are very helpful in identifying true Fox prints.
And with that-- and hopefully little more knowledge about one of the popular artists of the 1930s-- I leave you today... And we sail off into the sunset...
- Click here if you missed last week's Treasure Box Wednesday, where thrifting meets gifting...
- Or here, to see last Sunday's post on the Regent Square Neighborhood Yard Sale.
Have a happy Memorial Day and a picture perfect week.