Equal parts visionary artist and shrewd businessman, Parrish often created paintings for reproduction. He recognized that he could reach a broader audience through reproduction than through original paintings alone. The Lantern Bearers appeared on the cover of Collier’s Magazine in 1910.
This lively nocturne combines all the elements of the artist’s most successful works: fantastical characters, luminous color, and a sense of mystery. A tightly clustered group of clowns pose on a stage-like setting of wide stone steps, hanging glowing yellow lanterns against a silhouetted tree and a “Parrish Blue” sky. In the background hover four more golden orbs, leaving the viewer to wonder which, if any, is the moon.


  • Title: The Lantern Bearers
  • Creator: Maxfield Parrish
  • Date Created: 1908
  • Physical Dimensions: 40 × 32 in. (101.6 × 81.3 cm)
  • Provenance: Betsey P.C. Purves Trust; (Vose Galleries, Inc., Boston, MA); Private Collection; (Vose Galleries, Inc., Boston, MA), ca. early 1980s; Alma Gilbert, ca. early 1980s; to Private Collection, Europe; to (Christie's, New York, NY), May 25, 2006, lot 32; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2006
  • Subject Keywords: figures, lanterns
  • Rights: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.
  • External Link: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  • Medium: Oil on canvas mounted on board

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