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The Parrish Connection.

A Venice gallery celebrates the art of Maxwell Parrish.

Kay Oberbillig has a passion for the work of celebrated artist Maxfield Parrish. She's not alone. Parrish's innocent and serene illustrations touched many people. In fact, through the 1920s and '30s, Maxfield Parrish's prints were in one of every four homes in this country.

Oberbillig, a devoted collector of Parrish, has made him the featured artist in her Venice gallery, The Parrish Connection. Considered one of the great American illustrators, Parrish was a prolific artist, creating more than 800 works before he died in 1966 at the age of 95. Oberbillig carries some of his best prints and calendars, including a very rare, mint-condition, uncirculated 1921 calendar; the unusual print "Reveries"; an early print in an original 1920s frame that was Parrish's favorite, called "Garden of Allah"; and a never-before published limited edition called "Aquamarine," approved by the Maxfield Parrish Family Trust.

Not only is Parrish's detail work extraordinarily beautiful, but it also appreciates in value. His most popular painting, "Daybreak," was sold for $125,000 in the mid-'70s. It is now appraised at more than $1 million. Oberbillig has this print in her gallery. "The Illustrator Collector's News," published in Sequim, Wash., reports that barring a major recession, Parrish's early pre-1930 prints along with his Edison-Mazda calendars will be the best investment for 1993.

"My feeling about art is that you must love what you're buying, but also think about value," she says. "When you are forming a collection, it should increase in value over the years. The public that walks into this gallery should know that I almost always personally meet and deal with the artist whose work I carry and I keep value in mind."

Oberbillig is fond of realism and her gallery is full of finely detailed paintings in this style. The walls are adorned with the soft pastel portraits by Thornton Utz, the internationally renowned Siesta Key painter who was a former illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post. Oberbillig has more than 20 of the covers he created on exhibit. The gallery also features the work of local painter Marsha Hammel, the floral watercolorist Marjorie Renfroe and internationally acclaimed artist Edna Hibel. The gallery will hold an exhibit of Hammel's work in October.

Oberbillig welcomes browsers and buyers alike into her sunny gallery. Just look for the wooden carving of Parrish's whimsical English "Bobbie" that stands guard outside her door. The Parrish Connection, 106 S. Nokomis Ave. at Venice Ave., Venice FL 34285 (813) 484-4141.
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Title Annotation:art gallery based in Venice, Florida
Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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