Graydon Parrish, a painter who works with oils to fuse classical and realist styles, maintains his studio in Austin, Texas. Focusing his pieces on flowers, portraits, and occasional allegories or narratives on a massive scale, Mr. Parrish follows in the figurative footsteps of Michelangelo and Jacques-Louis David, as well as 19th century academic painters such as Jean-Léon Gérôme, Charles Bargue, and William-Adolph Bouguereau. A scholar of art as well as an artist, Graydon Parrish has worked as a researcher and editor on catalogues raisonnés of his stylistic predecessors from the French Academy.
The New York Times has called Mr. Parrish “a technically gifted painter with an unrivaled regard for detail and craftsmanship and a track record for producing studious, serious paintings on historical themes.” In 1999, Graydon Parrish completed his first large-scale masterwork, an allegory about AIDS in the U.S. titled “Remorse, Despondence, and Acceptance of an Early Death.” Measuring 4 feet by 10 feet in size, the piece depicts a muscular young man pulling a raft, on which lies the body of a child held and mourned by other men and a woman. At the time he finished the painting, Mr. Parrish was pursuing a Bachelor’s degree from Amherst College; the painting was his thesis work for his degree. Alumni of Amherst purchased the piece on behalf of the school, and today Mr. Parrish’s work hangs in the Robert Frost Library on campus.
An article in Forbes magazine about art investment commented in 2000 that Mr. Parrish’s work shows “tremendous technical skill” and depicts “earthbound human figures that are not distorted or violated in any way but instead are revered by the artist.” More recently, Graydon Parrish created a massive oil painting to address the 9/11 tragedy that measures 6 feet, 5 inches by 17 feet, 6 inches. Commissioned by the family of Scott O’Brien, a computer software specialist who died in the World Trade Center attack, Mr. Parrish’s “The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy: September 11, 2001” sits in the collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art.