Editor's note: The Nassau County Museum of Art provided source material to Resource Library for the following article or essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Nassau County Museum of Art directly through either this phone number or web address:
February 19, 2006 - May 14, 2006
(above: Reginald Marsh, Monday Night at the Metropolitan, 1936, tempera oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches. Lent by The University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, Gift of C. Leonard Pfeiffer)
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954) is famed for his paintings of life in New York City, from upper-crust elite to ordinary working people. The denizens of the Bowery and Coney Island were two of his favorite subjects. But Marsh's work was not social protest, instead his attraction to New York's highs and lows stemmed from his wish to portray colorful and sometimes even ugly subjects. As Marsh himself was born to a wealthy family, much of his work may almost be seen as a rejection of his affluent upbringing.
Beginning on February 19, 2006, the main galleries of Nassau County Museum of Art (NCMA) will be devoted to Reginald Marsh, a major retrospective of the work of an artist who is ranked with Edward Hopper in importance as a 20th-century American artist recording urban life. But where Hopper's work portrayed scenes from across the American landscape, Marsh concentrated on the lively streets, institutions and people of New York City. The exhibition, curated for NCMA by Constance Schwartz and Franklin Hill Perrell, continues through Sunday, May 14, 2006. (right: Reginald Marsh, Two Girls and a Bum. Private Collection)
Turning his back on the modernism of the early 20th century, Marsh adapted the techniques of Rubens, Titian, Rembrandt and others of the past to create beautiful paintings of New York's most colorful sites and flamboyant characters. The Bowery, 14th Street, burlesque halls, saloons, subways, movie theaters and beaches, especially Coney Island, were all grist for Marsh's mill. He captured voluptuous feminine pulchritude and machismo muscle builders as he portrayed a New York brimming with life, vitality and sexuality.
Marsh began his artistic career as a newspaper illustrator. After studying in Paris in 1925 and 1926, he devoted himself to painting. He studied at the Art Students League (and later taught there) with the Ashcan master, John Sloan. A fixture in art history, Marsh is credited with being the leader of a whole group of artists who depicted popular culture -- The 14th Street School, so named because their studios were located around Union Square. Marsh's work is to be found in the permanent collections of major museums throughout the world and in important private collections.
Linked with Reginald Marsh, NCMA is presenting Infamous New York: Bosses, Burlesque & Mayhem, a chronicle of New York's underworld in tabloid format. This exhibition sets a timeline of events in painting, graphics and photography. The two exhibitions together will afford the viewer a glimpse of a bygone New York, a time before television, computers and other mass media began to "homogenize" Americans, a time we now look back to as somehow friendlier and simpler, but which, as will be seen in these two important exhibitions, was fraught with many of the urban concerns that involve us to this day.
In conjunction with Reginald Marsh, NCMA is offering
several public programs that will serve to illuminate the works on view.
Among these are four Tea & Tour events (March 8, 22 & 29 and April
5) in which private tours of the exhibitions are followed by elegant teas
in the Museum Café. Call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12 for details on these
tours and other exhibition-related events.
Infamous New York: Bosses, Burlesque & Mayhem
In conjunction with Reginald Marsh, a major retrospective of work that depicts the lively streets, institutions and people of an earlier New York City, Nassau County Museum of Art presents Infamous New York: Bosses, Burlesque & Mayhem, a thought-provoking examination of how New York's vital character of notoriety arose from the tensions wrought by crowding, crime, corruption and mayhem from the end of World War I into the 1950s, as New York evolved into a world capital. This exhibition explores events in painting, graphics and photography. The exhibition opens on February 19, 2006 and continues through Sunday, May 14, 2006.
(above: Jack Levine, The Millionaire, oil on canvas, 34 x 16 inches. Private Collection)
Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy:
and these essays by Constance Schwartz and Franklin Hill Perrell:
Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Nassau County Museum of Art in Resource Library
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