19th century painter: Malcolm Parcell (American 1896 – 1987)


Malcolm Parcell (American 1896 – 1987): Road In Mist – Oil on canvas, 18.63 x 24.88 inches / Signed lower right

Portrait and landscape painter Malcolm Parcell was born in Claysville, near Washington, Pennsylvania. In 1902, the Parcell family moved to Prosperity, near Washington, Pennsylvania, where one of their childhood haunts was an old cabin hidden in the woods near his home. His older brother, Evans, would become a well-known illustrator, whose illustrations appeared in many popular magazines of the time. Parcell took art classes at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) from 1913 to 1917. There he studied with landscape painters Arthur Watson Sparks and George Sutter. In 1918, his painting, “Trinity Hall,” won first prize at the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh exhibition. 19th-century artist Malcolm Parcell took a trip to New York City in 1919 to visit his brother who was an illustrator for Scribner magazine, and spent a year painting church frescoes, architectural renderings and stage sets. That same year, her portrait of Helen Louine Gallagher, known as “Miss Gallagher” or simply “Louine,” won the Saltus Gold Medal from the National Academy of Design in New York. While in New York he asked the famous Impressionist landscape painter J. Alden Weir whether he should stay in New York or return home. Weir advised him to return home to Washington, but not until he purchased one of Parcell’s paintings. The nostalgic young man took her advice with pleasure, returned to Washington, PA and started a portrait painting business, never lacking in commissions or sales. In 1922, Parcell exhibited eight paintings at the McBeth Gallery in New York and one painting at the international exhibition of the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. In 1923, he exhibited ten paintings at the Gillespie Gallery in Pittsburgh and all sold in three days. Parcell then exhibited at Carnegie Internationals and won the People’s Prize in 1924 for “My Mother” and in 1925 for “Portrait Group,” a painting that featured “Louine”. The old cabin from his childhood became his workshop in 1925 and over the years he has added an assortment of disjointed pieces. He named it “Moon Lorn” and painted the thick woods that surrounded it, often with ethereal or fantastic creatures depicted dancing among the trees. His friend Peter West said of him that “his house and its surroundings were Gothic”. Parcell was an established and successful artist in the 1930s. art at Washington and Jefferson College (Washington, PA), a position he held for many years. During the 1950s, abstraction and expressionism came to the forefront of the art world, and Parcell’s painting style fell out of fashion. He recognized that the trend was towards modernism; however, he said “that but I don’t mind because if I had looked at some modern art when I was young, I don’t think there would ever have been a desire for me to to be an artist. ” Nevertheless, he continued to paint and sell his paintings.


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