January 24, 2001

More Information:
Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

ROCHESTER, NY – A postage stamp is causing a lot of commotion at the Eastman School of Music.

A special ceremony celebrating the "Rochester premiere" of a new U.S. postage stamp – based on Maxfield Parrish’s famous painting Interlude, which has graced Eastman Theatre since its opening in 1922 – will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, February 9, in the third floor lobby of Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.), near the stairway where the painting (or its replica) has hung for nearly 80 years. The event is free and open to the public.

Eastman School Director James Undercofler, officials from the U.S. Postal Service, as well as local and regional dignitaries and invitees, will be on hand for the local unveiling of the 34-cent stamp – part of the new "American Illustrators" stamp series announced by the Postal Service last fall. As part of the event, attendees may purchase a limited number of a special one-day commemorative postal cancellation (for $3 each). It will feature the Parrish stamp on a unique Eastman envelope with a specially-designed Eastman Theatre cancellation, hand-stamped by a post office representative. Other stamps in the series also will be available with the special cancellation.

The "American Illustrators" series pays tribute to 20 of America’s most accomplished illustrators. In addition to Parrish’s work, it also features reproductions of famous works by Norman Rockwell, James Montgomery Flagg, Rose O’Neill, and other illustrators who are members of the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. (Sheets of this series also will be available for sale that day.)

Considered by many to be one of Parrish’s finest works, Interlude was commissioned in 1922 by George Eastman himself. The seven-foot-high oil painting, also known as The Lute Players, depicts three women on a patio, basking beneath spectacular blue skies and lush foliage. The original 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 from 1922-1994, when it was removed for restoration. It was replaced with a photographic reproduction made by the Eastman Kodak Company. The original now is on permanent loan to the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, which has conditions better suited for preserving the work of art.