Reginald Marsh was one of the most important chroniclers of the changes in American urban life during the first half of the twentieth century.
After graduating from Yale, Marsh began his career as an illustrator, sketching vaudeville and burlesque performers for the New York Daily News. When The New Yorker began publishing in 1925, Marsh became one of the magazine’s first cartoonists.
In 1939, Life magazine called Marsh “America’s foremost painter of burlesque girls, slum kids, subway strap-hangers, bums, honky-tonk rakehells, fat women bathers and all the ragtag and bobtail of a big city”
Reginald Marsh at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is currently exhibiting the works of Reginald Marsh, along with other American painters of the early twentieth century.
Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950 will be on display through September 3, 2018. Using more than 150 works from its permanent collection, the show features paintings, sculptures, photographs, clothing and household objects that demonstrate the changes in culture, architecture and industry that were taking place in America.
Marsh painted, photographed and sketched the teeming crowds of people that lived, worked and played in New York. He rode the subways, walked the streets and spent hours at Coney Island chronicling everyday life.
The works of the artists in the exhibit, like Georgia O’Keeffe, George Bellows, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Man Ray, Edward Hopper, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove and John Marin, all bear witness to great societal and industrial changes that were leading to modernism.
Marsh was born into a wealthy family that was able to provide him with a fine education and a life of privilege. His works are often satirical and funny, yet he was able to express his empathy for the people he painted.
The Work of Reginald Marsh at Surovek
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See More Work from Reginald Marsh
National Gallery of Art. Reginald Marsh/Biography.
Smithsonian American Art Museum. Reginald Marsh. Biography. Works by Reginald Marsh.
Encyclopaedia Britannica. Reginald Marsh/American Artist