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.

Timeline

1898
Born: in Paris, France
1920
Graduated from Yale School of Fine Art, New Haven, CT
1920–1921
Enrolled in the John Sloan’s evening drawing class at the Art Students League, New York, NY
1922
Studied with Kenneth Hayes Miller, George Bridgman, and George Luks at the Art Students League, New York, NY
1922–1925
Illustrator for the New York Daily News, New York, NY
1925–1931
Joined and contributed to the New Yorker freqently, New York, NY
1934–1954
Instructor, Art Students League of New York, New York, NY
Instructor, Moore Institute of Art, Science and Industry, Philadelphia, PA
Awarded the Gold Medal for Graphic Arts of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
Died: in Dorset, VT

Exhibitions

2009
New York: Then and Now, ACA Galleries, New York, NY
Humanity: 100 Years of Figurative Art, ACA Galleries, New York, NY
2008
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954): Urban Realist, Master of Many Media, D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc, New York, NY (solo)
2006
Reginald Marsh, Nassau County Museum of Art, New York, NY (solo)
Burchfield and Marsh: Exaggerated Visions, William Benton Museum, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
2003
New York City Drawings, Seraphin Galleries, Philadelphia, PA
Summer Selection of 19th and 20th century American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, ACA Galleries, New York, NY
2002
Reginald Marsh Prints: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (solo)
Reginald Marsh, New York Views, DC Moore Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1998
Reginald Marsh 'Centennial Celebration, 1898-1954', ACA Galleries, New York, NY (solo)
1997
Reginald Marsh, DC Moore Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1972
Reginald Marsh: A Retrospective Exhibition, Newport Beach, CA; Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA (solo)
1957
70 Photographers Look at New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1955
Retrospective, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (solo)
1938
Frank K.M Rehn Galleries, New York, NY (solo)
1924
Whitney Studio Club, New York, NY (solo)

Public Collections

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Literature

1983
Reginald Marsh’s New York: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, and Photographs. New York, NY: Whitney Museum of American Art; Dover Publications, 1983 (catalogue)
1976
Sasowsky, Norman. The prints of Reginald Marsh : an essay and definitive catalog of his linoleum cuts, etchings, engravings, and lithographs. New York, NY: C.N. Potter, 1976