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View Points
By David Maril
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View Points
By David Maril

A behind the scenes look at Herman Maril’s legacy

1963 ‘Painting of the Year’ still draws attention

1963 ‘Painting of the Year’
still draws attention

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Is there such a thing as a color reproduction print of a painting that is done too well?
The 1963 print done by the Mead paper corporation of my father’s oil “Sand And Water” is a pretty convincing example. At least six times a year, we are contacted, through this website, by people who are excited about owning what they believe in an original Herman Maril oil. Soon as I see the image, however, I am left with the sad task of telling them it’s one of several-thousand color reproductions done by the paper company and not a one-of-a-kind original piece of art.
In 1963, my father’s “Sand And Water” was selected out of 2,000 national entries to win the Mead Painting of the Year award. Mead produced and distributed thousands of reproductions of the prize-winning oil to showcase the company's color printing capabilities.
As it turns out, Mead did such an impressive job, the reproductions continue to fool many people to this day. Often it’s hard to convince the public these are not oils.
“Look, I’m an interior designer and I deal with art all the time,” one person told me over the phone. “I know an oil when I see one.”
When these reproductions were distributed in 1963, many of the recipients had the paper prints mounted on a hard surface, without glass, and elaborately framed.  The reproductions were printed on rough paper that helps convey the movement of my father’s brush strokes. At first glance, you could think the piece of art was an oil on board.
However, there are noticeable differences between the original oil and reproductions. First of all, the oil (37 x 49 inches) is much larger than the print (18 x 24 inches). Secondly, the colors of the oil are brighter and more complex.
After the initial disappointment over learning this isn’t a valuable oil, the person often asks me what they should do.
I tell them it’s an impressive reproduction and if they like it, they should keep it on the wall, preferably in an area that doesn’t get much sunlight, and enjoy it.
Here are some of the highlights of current and upcoming activities related to the art of Herman Maril:
- The Smithsonian’s American Art Museum’s “1934: A New Deal For Artists,” continues to travel around the nation and is at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery, Alabama Sept. 24 through Jan 8. The show includes “Sketch For Old Baltimore Waterfront,” a Herman Maril oil which was selected by Eleanor Roosevelt to hang in the White House,
- “Dialogue At Five,” a 1970 oil by Herman Maril is featured on the cover of “Word Problems,” a book of poetry by Erin Murphy, published by Word Press.
- The Herman Maril oil painting “Riding Free,” is reproduced in “The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonders” by Susan H. Magsamen, published by National Geographic.
University of Maryland University College has unveiled the newly published hard-cover catalogue of the Herman Maril collection at the college. The book contains essays by the late David Scott, former Director of the Corcoran Museum of Art and founding director of the National Museum of American, and Howard Wooden, former Director of the Wichita Art Museum. Christine McCarthy, Director of the Provincetown Art Association Museum, delivered a lecture on Herman Maril at University of Maryland University College in December 4 commemorating the publishing of the book. For more information on book purchases contact University of Maryland University College, University Arts Program, 3501 University Boulevard East, Adelphi, MD 20783.

David Maril, son of artist Herman Maril, is the President of the Herman Maril Foundation. His career in journalism includes working as an award winning newspaper columnist, sports writer,  sports editor and copy editor. A long-time board of trustees member of the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association, Maril is a voter in the Hall of Fame balloting. You can reach him at