ROCHESTER, NY A painting that has graced the Eastman Theatre since its opening soon will be on display for the world to see, thanks to the United States Postal Service.
Interlude, a work by the great American artist Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966), is one of only 20 pieces of art that will be reproduced for a new series of postage stamps that pays tribute to Americas most accomplished illustrators. The "American Illustrators" stamp series which also features reproductions of famous works by Norman Rockwell, James Montgomery Flagg, Rose ONeill, and others will be announced, along with the other new stamps for the coming year, by the U.S. Postal Service and unveiled at 9:15 a.m. today on C-SPAN. The stamps in the Illustrators Series will be available to the public beginning February 1, 2001.
"We are thrilled that this remarkable work of art was chosen for this series," said James Undercofler, director and dean of the Eastman School of Music. "Its an honor to have one of Rochesters treasures be the sole work representing Parrish on stamps that will be distributed around the country."
Commissioned in 1922 by George Eastman himself, the seven-foot-high oil painting is considered by many to be one of Parrishs finest works. Also known as The Lute Players, it depicts three women on a patio, basking beneath spectacular blue skies and lush foliage. The work which quickly became a favorite of Mr. Eastman and of Rochester theatergoers hung in the north stairway to the Grand Balcony of the Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) from 1922-1994, when it was removed for restoration. It was replaced with a photographic reproduction made by the Eastman Kodak Company, and the original now is on permanent loan to the University of Rochesters Memorial Art Gallery, which has better climate control. (The painting was one of the works featured in the traveling Maxfield Parrish exhibit on view earlier this year at the gallery; it has since returned there.)
The reverse side of the 33-cent stamp includes information about Parrish and his art, and indicates that the original work is a mural for the Eastman Theatre at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. A special release of the Parrish stamp will take place at the School in early February. (Details to come at a later date.)
This and all of the new stamps for the coming year can be viewed online at www.usps.com. Click on Postal News, then Philatelic News.
Note to editors: A color, enlarged sample of the Parrish stamp and the "American Illustrators" sheet is available electronically and for filming.