Reginald Marsh

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Reginald Marsh
Graphite, black chalk, and ink on paper.
10 x 13 3/4 inches (25.4 x 34.9 cm)
Gift of Michael Rips and Sheila Berger.

Signed in ink at center, recto: "Marsh."

Alice Manheim and Jacob Kaplan, New York; Mary Ellen Kaplan, New York; Michael Rips and Sheila Berger, New York (purchase at auction); gift to the Morgan (2022).

Marsh is an American artist renowned for his social realist paintings of New York City. His portrayals of bathers at Coney Island Beach are particularly beloved. Working as an illustrator for publications such as the New Yorker, where he was one of the original cartoonists, Vanity Fair, and Harper's Bazaar, Marsh was highly skilled in capturing the vibrant culture of the booming metropolis. Despite his focus on contemporary scenes, after a 1925 trip to Europe, Marsh became fascinated by the techniques of the Old Masters, experimenting with egg tempera and developing a strong interest in anatomy. He even published a self-illustrated artist guide based on Old Master drawings, Anatomy for Artists, in 1945. Marsh's interest in Rembrandt and Rubens likely influenced his creation of self-portraits, which he produced in mediums ranging from oil paint to etching throughout his career. This drawing, which resembles a classical study sheet, combines images of the artist at different ages. The image at lower center-left matches the painting Self-Portrait, c. 1926, in the Whitney's collection.

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