Grand Canyon Series19439 x 12 in.(22.86 x 30.48 cm) oil on panel
Provenance Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Private Collection, acquired from the above, December 12, 2004
Born in 1866 and trained at the National Academy of Design under William Merritt Chase, Parsons was among Santa Fe's earliest resident painters when he arrived in 1913. Parson had contracted tuberculosis the prior year, and the desert climate suited his health, but it was the intense desert light and its dramatic landscape that aroused his aesthetic sensibilities. An accomplished New York portraitist, he was thrilled to replace those former soft, dark tones with high-keyed hues that conveyed the warmth and color of the Southwest landscape. Parsons was not a modernist, but as curator of the newly established Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, he welcomed modernists, including Robert Henri, Stuart Davis, Marsden Harley, John Sloan, and others, to show at the museum. His stance brought a firestorm of condemnation leading to his dismissal in 1922.
Parsons painted the Grand Canyon on several occasions. Immortalized in paint by artists from Thomas Moran to the Taos founders and innumerable contemporary artists, Parsons' earliest known example, Morning in the Canyon, is dated 1916.