Posted by: Alma Gilbert | April 24, 2012

Welcome to Parrish

Welcome to the world of Maxfield Parrish by Alma Gilbert.

Do you have a Parrish original for sale, or would you like to acquire one?

Alma Gilbert-Smith is considered this country’s premiere authority and consultant on the works of American artist Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966). She also consults, identifies, authenticates originals, and coordinates museum and gallery exhibits of Parrish artworks. Go to the “Art for Sale” page on the menu bar above for more information.


With a Champagne toast and a deep bow to more than a century of tradition, the famous Maxfield Parrish painting “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” returned to the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

Pied-Piper-reinstalledAn installation crew hangs the Pied Piper of Hamelin mural in its original location behind the bar at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013. The historic work by Maxfield Parrish was removed in April with plans to auction it off, but hotel management quickly reversed its decision after a huge public uproar. Photo above by Paul Chinn, The San Francisco Chronicle

The painting, which is 16 feet long, 6 feet tall and weighs more than 250 pounds, was reinstalled over the bar at the hotel’s Pied Piper Bar and Grill, where it had hung for years. It was a magnificent comeback for the Pied Piper. Only five months ago, the Palace Hotel’s ownership had removed the painting and planned to sell it at auction. They said the Pied Piper was too valuable and too important a cultural image to be displayed in public – particularly in a bar, no matter how fancy.

But the announcement produced a huge public outcry and Honolulu’s Kyo-Ya Hotels and Resorts changed its mind. Instead, the Pied Piper, valued at between $3 million and $5 million, or perhaps more, was cleaned and refurbished and returned to its place of honor.

This reminds me of the time I spent 12 years ago with the City of Philadelphia, supporting their efforts to prevent the removal and sale of another famous Maxfield Parrish work: the The Dream Garden mosaic located in the lobby of the former Curtis Publishing building. That collaboration between Louis Comfort Tiffany and Maxfield Parrish was successfully designated by the City of Philadelphia as “Heritage Property”, following the suggestions which I made originally to the Pew Charitable Trust. I am proud of the role which my research and testimony before the Philadelphia Historical Commission played in preserving for them the display of The Dream Garden mural.

Alma Gilbert’s book publishing site has been extraordinarily active lately.

This is the cover of Alma Gilbert’s new book, “MAXFIELD PARRISH: THE SECRET LETTERS” which was released for publication early in 2013.


This fascinating story is based on the discovery of a cache of 323 previously unknown hand-written love letters by Maxfield Parish to a  young lady, who has never before been mentioned in the archives of the artist’s papers. Christie’s auction house sold this famous collection for the owners in October 2013  for over a quarter of a million dollars.  Much of the information in their catalog was derived from Alma Gilbert’s book on the letters.

Please go to the “Publications” section from the menu bar above for further description and ordering information on this and other Alma Gilbert books.



Alma Gilbert is now (mostly)  retired and lives in Southern California, enjoying lovely coastal vistas such as the one above. She actively continues writing, authenticating and consulting in all aspects of the career and paintings of Maxfield Parrish. She also handles private sales of major Parrish originals for her clients.

Her contact information remains the e-mail address:

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  1. Alma,
    Congratulations on the new book! I look forward to seeking it out upon release in the fall. What a fun thing to read all those love letters in the context of the time!! I read recently about the “Pied Piper” being sent to auction…do you really think it will go for as little as 3-5 million? Guess one has to consider the size compared to other smaller works. Hope your injoying retirement, although it sounds like your still keeping very busy. If you are ever up our way come and visit “Night in the Desert”. And of course we would love to have a visit also! Our guest house is always open!!
    Lynn Nak

    • Lynn! Lovely hearing from you! Don’t worry! the Pied Piper will be returned to the SF Bay area. The book is now out. I’ll send you the order information via e-mail. I also sent an announcement card to your old address. I would one day LOVE to see you both as well as Night in the Desert! Fondly! Alma

  2. Dear Alma: First of all, this is Andy Munana, hope you still remember me. On one of your trips you contacted me and we had hoped to connect but it did not happen.. I am so happy that you are back in California. I would love to see you and yes I want a signed copy of you new book and most of all to see you and catch up. My phone is 323-683-9432. or email. Hope to hear from you. Andrew Munana

    • Andy! Of course I remember you!!! I’ll send you an e-mail with the order form. Mail it to me with your check and I’ll send the book with love and Kisses! Great to hear from good friends! Please keep in touch! I’m in the LA area next to Donald Trump’s golf club. Alma

  3. Well for heavens sake!!! You’re back in California! I never thought anyone would be able to pry you away from Max’s house.
    Do you ever come to the Bay Area? I’d love to see you. How about a book signing or something? Clare

    • Hi,Clare, lovely hearing from you! Yes. Children and grand children are a powerful draw, aren’t they? ags

  4. Hi Alma,
    Lovely that you have a new book and also that you are living in California. I hope the Pied Piper finds a good home. We recently visited the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and saw collection of Maxfield Parrish’s paintings. Best, Judith

    • Hi, Judith dear! Started publishing (or republishing some of my sold out titles) as well as new titles. Pied Piper is safe! It will be returned to SF soon. People raised a huge raucous and the owners decided it would be a publicity disaster to go on with the sale. Alma

  5. Hi Alma, I visited the Cornish Art Colony Art museum featuring Maxfield Parrish in Windsor, VT around maybe 3 years ago. I enjoyed it so much as I am a fan of the various Cornish Art Colony artists especially Maxfield Parrish. My brother as well is a fan as well. To make a long story short, I sent my brother to Windsor to view these beautiful paintings and prints and he found it was closed. How disappointing to find it’s now closed. Were the paintings put elsewhere or were they sold? I was just so taken by being able to stand in front of each painting and marvel at the beauty. How may I repeat this awe I felt?

    • Sad, I never received a reply :-(

      • Sorry, Dawn. We’re in the process of moving. I know how you feel about enjoying the Parrish originals at the Cornish Colony Museum which I headed for many years. Sadly, two years after I retired the board of directors decided they could not continue the museum without a benefactor as I had been, funding so many things for them. They closed it in 2011. The art I had left was either sold or donated to other non-profits. Very sad!!! AGS

  6. I have a two letters from Maxfield Parrish written to my grand aunt, Katherine Aikins of Fortunate, CA. One is a copy, perhaps of historic interest, and the other is an original. I’m curious how much the original would be worth.
    Tom Graves

    • Hi, Tom: The value of the letter of course depends on three things: content, whether it is typed or hand written and whether it’s a business or personal letter. If you look on E-Bay, you can get an idea of what people are asking for their single letters. AGS

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