Reginald Marsh (American, March 4, 1898–July 3, 1954) was a painter who was famous for artwork that often portrayed life in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s. He was born in Paris as the second son to parents who were also artists. His father, Fred Dana Marsh (American, 1872–1961), was one of the first artists to depict scenes of industrialism in his artwork. His mother, Alice Randall Marsh (American, 1869–1929), was a Miniaturist painter. When he was two years old, Marsh's family relocated to New Jersey. He attended Lawrenceville School and went on to attend Yale University, where he worked as an illustrator for the Yale Record. Marsh completed his studies at the university and graduated in 1920.
After graduation, the painter moved to New York City with the intention of getting work as a freelance illustrator. In 1922, the New York Daily News hired him to produce drawings of burlesque and vaudeville entertainers. He also worked as one of the first cartoonists for The New Yorker when it launched in 1925. Marsh started out as a casual painter and began taking classes in 1921 under the instruction of John Sloan (American, 1871–1951) at the Arts Student League of New York. Marsh's work is often classified as Social Realism. He frequently created images of the Great Depression that depicted how it affected different social classes. Other subjects he enjoyed painting were burlesque entertainers, hobos on Bowery Street, and crowds of people on Coney Island and the city streets of New York. Marsh spent a considerable amount of time in nightclubs, on subways, on sidewalks, in bars, and in restaurants searching for crowds to paint.
Some of the painter's most notable works include Why Not Use the "L"?, Tattoo Haircut-Shave, Woman Walking, Twenty-Cent Movie, Savoy Ballroom, Striptease at New Gotham, and Coney Island. Marsh's work has been exhibited in numerous museums and art galleries including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Brooklyn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The artist died on JUly 3, 1954 in Dorset, VT.