Happy 122nd Birthday Reginald Marsh! Marsh is most famous for his print work which depicts life in New York City in the 1930s. A prodigious worker, he expressed himself in many mediums: oil, tempera, watercolor, fresco, pencil, Chinese ink, lithography, etching and engraving. His printmaking began early in his career and lasted most of his life.
Reginald Marsh was born in Paris, France on March 14th, 1898 to American parents who were also both artists. After graduating from Yale, he moved to New York to be a freelance illustrator. Although he is not known primarily a cartoonist, he was a productive contributor to The New Yorker between 1925-1944. In the beginning of the 1920s, Marsh started classes at the Art Students League of New York, where his first teacher was John Sloan. By 1923, he was a serious painter and traveled to Paris to study European painters such as Titian, Tintoretto and Rubens. While in Paris, he met Thomas Hart Benton and was inspired by his technique and style.
Upon his return to New York, Marsh began to train underneath Kenneth Hayes Miller who encouraged Marsh to stick with his unique sketch-like style in print making. In the 1930s, Marsh began to work with John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League of New York. While Curry and Benton focused on their Regionalist style which depicted rural landscape and realities of rural life, Marsh took a different approach to his subject matter. Marsh documented the realities of city life, but also focused on documenting social history and the spirit of the time, conveying engery and change.
Reginald Marsh’s art centered on humanity and the ability to find enjoyment, entertainment, and happiness. Wherever the crowds were thickest he found his themes: the streets and their hurrying throngs, the subway, the lower East Side, burlesque, night clubs, Coney Island beach with its swarming thousands, the gaudy dream world of Luna Park. His social range was wide, from Bowery bums to café society, from dime-a-dance joints to the Stork Club. These themes are the lasting impact of Marsh’s work and provide us an insight to the daily life of 1930s New Yorkers.
Reginald Marsh is remember today as a master of print-work which ranged from etchings to lithographs to engravings. All of Reginald Marsh’s available work can be viewed on our website here. You are welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 402-420-9553.