Ajax loader
The Real City: Reginald Marsh’s Photographs of New York
Page 2

Photography was a more elusive medium in Marsh’s repertoire. He kept sparse and scattered notes about his photographic activities, as opposed to his detailed diaries of sketching excursions around the city [ii]. Likewise, he appears never to have discussed or exhibited his photographs publicly during his lifetime. The launch of the Marsh online photographic archive by the Museum of the City of New York marks the first time that nearly all of the artist’s photographs are available to the public. In tandem with this milestone, this essay traces the history of Marsh’s photographic activities as well as the reception and circulation of his photographs in the years following his death in 1954. Studying Marsh’s use of the camera as a new tool for capturing his trademark subjects begins to reveal the unique role that the medium played in his art, as both an independent means of aesthetic exploration and a vehicle that fostered the development of his paintings, particularly as he reached a watershed in his artistic evolution at the end of the 1930s. The lack of detailed records on Marsh’s photographs impedes efforts to establish a definitive narrative of how and when he began experimenting with the camera but his paintings make it clear that he was doing so by 1933. As art historian Marilyn Cohen first observed, a series of photographs taken at Coney Island in August of that year provided source material for two major compositions painted in the fall, Lifeguards and Smoko, the Human Volcano [iii]. In Lifeguards, the poses of four of the scene’s figure groupings—the lifeguards, the pair of young men performing a handstand, the girls fixing each other’s hair, and the embracing girls seen from behind—were drawn from separate snapshots and amalgamated into a single, densely-packed composition (90.36.1.1213, 90.36.1.90, 90.36.1.1201, 90.36.1.1294) [iv]. For Smoko, the Human VolcanoIn Fourteenth Street and a print entitled Union Square [v]. No negatives survive for the photographic prints Marsh produced during the early 1930s; they may have been destroyed when Marsh moved apartments several years later [vi]. The MCNY archive contains eighty-five of these images, which were all printed in 3 ½ x 4 ½-inch format with a glossy finish that indicates they were processed commercially rather than by the artist himself. [vii] .................................................................. [ii] The one photo diary Marsh kept, which is located in the archives of the Museum of the City of New York, contains a few notes from February to July 1938. [iii] Marilyn Cohen, Reginald Marsh’s New York: Paintings, Drawings, Prints and Photographs (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1983), 8–12. As Cohen notes, Marsh’s diaries provide the August 1933 date. [iv] Ibid., 11. [v] See Cohen, Reginald Marsh’s New York, 44n28, 54–55. [vi] Norman Sasowsky, “Reginald Marsh’s Photographs,” in Photographs of New York by Reginald Marsh, portfolio (Washington DC: Middendorf Gallery and JemHom in conjunction with the estate of Reginald Marsh, 1977), unpaginated. [vii] Ibid.

ID:
90.36.1.90
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954)
[Teenage boys performing stunt on Coney Island beach.]
ca. 1938
gelatin silver print
Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Felicia Meyer Marsh, 1990.
ADDITIONAL IMAGES
The Real City: Reginald Marsh’s Photographs of New York
Page 3

It was not until 1938 that Marsh launched into his most active and prolific period of photographic activity. That year, he purchased a 35mm Leica, likely the first good-quality camera he owned. Felicia Meyer Marsh, the artist’s wife, later said that he acquired the Leica from a German refugee, but Marsh’s photo diary mentions a sales receipt for the camera from Willoughby’s, a New York camera shop, suggesting that it was purchased there. [viii] Marsh shot his first photographs in January 1938 and began developing and printing them on his own by mid-July, voicing his enthusiasm in a letter to Felicia: “This photography is the maddest activity I have ever taken up. I am planning many new subjects with the camera’s aid.” [ix] The new Leicas, which flooded into American markets during the 1930s despite the austerities of the Depression, had revolutionized the possibilities for a self-taught, amateur photographer like Marsh to explore and manipulate the medium. Making use of the camera’s mobility, speed, and ability to produce contact sheets of images that could be enlarged as desired, he went on to shoot and print thousands of photographs within the next few years. For Marsh, these images appear to have served both as a pleasurable, autonomous method for documenting his favorite urban subjects and as springboards for future paintings. Many of Marsh’s photographs explore the sites and figurative types that he portrayed in his paintings and prints, but were not used as compositional sources. More directly, a number of shots from the late 1930s inspired a group of large-scale watercolors, including 10 Shots, 10 Cents (1939); Mink and Mannequin (1940); Dead Man’s Curve (1940); Hat Display (1940); and Modeling Furs on Union Square (1940). [x] As was the case earlier in the decade, Marsh did not transfer photographic compositions wholesale into these works, preferring instead to combine fragmentary elements drawn from various shots. During the late 1930s, he relied particularly on photography in conceiving his architectural spaces and signage. For the second-story fur shop window that he depicted in Modeling Furs on Union Square, for example, Marsh used details from images he shot of the Hudson Fur store on Union Square, including the shapes, lettering, and wording of the signs (90.36.1.292, 90.36.1.335, 90.36.1.347). These photographs were also the sources for the poses of the man perched on a ladder cleaning the window exterior and a girl modeling furs inside the store, who is transformed from a mannequin into a flesh-and-blood woman in Marsh’s final composition. .................................................................. [viii] Felicia Marsh’s account was included in Sasowsky, “Reginald Marsh’s Photographs, ”unpaginated. [ix] Marsh’s photo diary in the archives of the Museum of the City of New York contains a note regarding Marsh’s first roll of film shot “taken, developed, and printed by myself” on July 20, 1938. Reginald Marsh to Felicia Meyer Marsh, undated letter, quoted in Cohen, Reginald Marsh’s New York, 44n28. [x] The photographs also inspired at least one etching during this period: Frozen Custard, 1939. Both the sign and the pose of one of the women behind the counter are drawn from a photograph (90.36.1.258).

ID:
1956.102
Mink and Mannequin
1940
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase.
ADDITIONAL IMAGES
The Real City: Reginald Marsh’s Photographs of New York
Page 4

Likewise, the architecture and at least one of the figures in Mink and Mannequin are related to dozens of images Marsh took of women milling outside the department store Bonwit Teller (90.36.1.298, 90.36.1.318, 90.36.2.91.3F). Here, he relied particularly on his photographs to reproduce three of the store’s famed window displays (90.36.1.320, 90.36.2.91.2A, 90.36.2.91.1F). In 10 Shots, 10 Cents, the marquee and signboard were transcribed from two separate photos (90.36.1.1477, 90.36.1.1486); the rest of the composition seems to be invented. In similar ways, Hat Display and Dead Man’s Curve incorporate details of signage, store windows, and female shoppers photographed by the artist around Union Square. These works marked the apex of photography as a source for Marsh’s art. Thereafter, throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, he used the medium almost exclusively to document his work and to record his vacations; rarely did it directly inform his painted compositions. [xi] Marsh’s silence regarding his photographs during his lifetime most certainly reflected his sense that they were not independent works of art, but rather tools for collecting visual data, an aide-mémoire for his paintings. And yet his public comments suggest he also was uncomfortable about acknowledging the medium’s role in his work. In 1938—the same year he bought his Leica—an article in the New York World-Telegram featured Marsh’s disparaging remarks about the influence of photography on contemporary painting under the headline: “Camera Craze Has Made American Artists Feel Inferior, Says Reginald Marsh, Deploring a Lost Quality in Painting.” [xii] In the article, Marsh lamented the “feeling of inferiority in the artist” that had resulted from the camera’s ability to capture a “world we didn't know, of fleeting shadows and unusual action.” [xiii] Harshly criticizing the “fake realism” of painters who sought to mimic these effects, he advised them instead to “work from the inside out.” [xiv] Marsh’s own use of photography, of course, remained glaringly absent from his assessment, a paradox that is indicative of a larger conundrum faced by painters during the 1930s. To be a painter-photographer in this period was a difficult proposition, with photography still considered a lesser art form even as it gained an increasingly powerful presence in the public imagination, not only via the era’s social documentary projects but also through new glossy magazines such as Life and Look. [xv] Acutely aware that they were experiencing an era of great historical significance, painters and printmakers struggled with the question of how to capture the sweeping social transformations and economic tumult of Depression-era New York while avoiding the aesthetic of documentary photography. The growing accessibility of the photographic medium had opened up all kinds of new possibilities for painters and yet in utilizing it as a resource, they risked the perception that their work might be perceived as inauthentic or derivative. Like other major painters of this period who used photographs as the basis for their work, including Ben Shahn and Charles Sheeler, Marsh inevitably grappled with these tensions and chose to downplay his use of the camera. [xvi] .................................................................. [xi] Marsh’s personal photographs are also in the archive of the Museum of the City of New York. In 1947, Marsh returned to one of his photographs as the source for the sign in the ink drawing Milo the Mule Face Boy. [xii] Douglas Gilbert, “Camera Craze Has Made American Artists Feel Inferior, Says Reginald Marsh, Deploring a Lost Quality in Painting,” New York World-Telegram, October 5, 1938. In Scrapbook[#1], Clippings, circa 1922–1939, Reginald Marsh Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution ( http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/container/viewer/Scrapbook-1-Clippings--276707), frame 93. [xiii] Ibid. [xiv] Ibid. [xv] Photographic social documentary projects, in particular those initiated by the Resettlement Administration/Farm Security Administration (RA/FSA), were a central vehicle for circulating information to the public about rural deprivations during the 1930s. To accomplish its mission of “introducing America to Americans,” the RA/FSA disseminated photographs for publication in newspapers and popular magazines. Many FSA images quickly became iconic emblems of Depression-era life and helped spur public response to rural poverty. In one example, Dorothea Lange presented her photographs of starving migrant laborers in Nipomo Valley, California, to an editor at the San Francisco News, who alerted the federal government to the migrants' plight. The newspaper then printed two of Lange's images with a report that the government was sending 20,000 pounds of food to alleviate the situation. [xvi] Shahn, like Marsh, concealed his photographs of New York, which he often used as the basis of paintings. While his FSA photographs were well known during this period, his New York images became public decades after they were shot. Sheeler ran into difficulties when he sought to exhibit his photographs and paintings side by side; his dealer, Edith Halpert, refused to do so.

ID:
90.36.2.91.3F
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954)
[Women window shopping.]
ca. 1940
acetate negative
Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Felicia Meyer Marsh, 1990.
ADDITIONAL IMAGES
The Real City: Reginald Marsh’s Photographs of New York
Page 5

Marsh’s photographs only began to receive public attention in the appraisal of his estate following his death in 1954. A major proponent in this process was Norman Sasowsky, a former student of Marsh’s who rented studio space in the same building as his teacher at One Union Square. Shortly after Marsh’s death, the young Sasowsky was hired by Felicia Marsh and William Benton, a former senator from Connecticut who was Marsh’s Yale schoolmate and most significant patron, to catalogue and help distribute the material in the estate. Lloyd Goodrich, then associate director of the Whitney Museum and Marsh’s oldest childhood friend, provided a space in the museum’s library for this massive undertaking to take place—a process that would ultimately take twenty-five years. It was during this period that Sasowsky unearthed the multitude of photographs that Marsh had left behind. [xvii] He advised the artist’s widow to donate the artist’s photographic prints, contact sheets, and negative rolls, along with his photographic notebooks and diary, to the Museum of the City of New York in 1979. [xviii] Sasowsky’s interest in these works also led him to spearhead the publication of a portfolio of fifty posthumous prints made from Marsh’s negatives in January 1977, in association with two dealers, Middendorf Gallery and JemHom. [xix] Goodrich was the first to publish images of the photographs in a scholarly context, reproducing thirty of them in his 1972 Marsh monograph, which remains the largest catalogue of the artist’s work to date. At the same time, however, Goodrich and other scholars continued to follow the artist’s precedent by minimizing the importance of the photographs and overlooking their direct influence on his painted compositions. “The subjects are often identical [in Marsh’s photographs and paintings], but there the relationship stops,” Goodrich asserted. “Probably they were simply another product of his consuming interest in New York and its life. Marsh was not a Stieglitz; his photographs do not show the latter’s selectivity and artistry. But as documents of an artist’s eye for the city’s many aspects, they have their special value.” [xx] Art historian Thomas H. Garver, who authored the catalogue of a traveling Marsh retrospective the same year, concurred with Goodrich’s assessment. Insisting on the primacy of the sketches, he wrote that “photography was never as important a documentary device as the sketchbooks, for it didn’t permit the flexibility of rendering that the little sketches allowed.” [xxi]The direct relationship between Marsh’s paintings and photographs would not begin to be documented until 1983, in Marilyn Cohen’s catalogue that accompanied a Whitney Museum exhibition of Marsh’s work. Intriguingly, the primary person to recognize the independent artistic merit of the photographs in the years immediately following Marsh’s death was photographer and curator Edward Steichen, who included several of them in a 1957–58 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art entitled Seventy Photographers Look at New York. Lent by Marsh’s widow, the three prints in the show were enlargements made from Marsh’s negatives. The first depicted a down and out, probably unemployed man perched on the sidewalk of a Lower East Side street corner, his face obscured by deep shadows; the second was a contemplative scene of sailors and other figures at the boating lake in Central Park; and the third, an image of fashionable shoppers and a nun asking for alms outside Bonwit Teller, was one of shots that inspired the watercolor Mink and Mannequins (90.36.1.273, 90.36.1.325, 90.36.1.298). How Steichen arrived at the decision to highlight Marsh in an exhibition devoted exclusively to photography—indeed, how he even knew about these works—remains a mystery. In all likelihood, they were brought to his attention by Grace Mayer, the curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York, who had cultivated an interest in Marsh’s work and worked closely with Steichen on Seventy Photographers Look at New York. [xxii] As images of the installation testify, Steichen’s exhibition recognized Marsh’s photographs as a part of the urban documentary tradition that was central to American photography and that gathered a powerful new sense of vigor and relevance during the Depression. In the show, Marsh was situated within a historical continuum of New York photographers from nineteenth-century pioneers such as Mathew Brady and Jacob Riis to his contemporaries, including Berenice Abbott, Weegee, and Lisette Model. Marsh’s photographs are less refined and technically adept than those of his contemporaries, but as the Museum of Modern Art exhibition acknowledged, their blunt immediacy and investment in documenting the spirit of a specific historical moment represented a worthy parallel to the efforts of the period’s urban documentarians—Abbott, Shahn, and Walker Evans, as well as the members of the radical New York Photo League, including Weegee, Model, Walter Rosenblum, and Aaron Siskind, among others. With them, he shared the impulse to document the city’s transformation in the 1930s, and as a result, his images closely resemble the work of these practitioners. Weegee’s crowded beach scenes, Model’s voluptuous female bathers, Evan’s shop windows and subway portraits, and Rosenblum’s Lower East Side streetscapes all find parallels in Marsh’s photographs. [xxiii] The extent of Marsh’s awareness of these photographers is unclear, but as an avid consumer of popular culture and magazines, he could not have been unfamiliar with their work. His diaries from 1933 indicate that he knew Shahn, an artist whose approach to photography was perhaps most akin to his own. Both eschewed the sweeping vistas and crisp architectural visions of the city favored by Abbott, Stieglitz, and others in favor of the Bowery, with its profusion of signage, scraggly buildings, and colorful inhabitants. Likewise, neither prized technical mastery in their photography, instead primarily using the medium to collect dynamic visual data that could be broken down and recombined in subsequent painted compositions. [xxiv] .................................................................. [xvii] Sasowsky, e-mail message to author, February 11, 2012. [xviii] Marsh’s studies for the murals he painted at the Customs House in lower Manhattan were also given to the Museum by Felicia Marsh in 1976. [xix] The portfolio was published in a limited edition of twenty-five with four artist-proof sets; the Art Students League continues to make the copies of the portfolio available for purchase. [xx] Lloyd Goodrich, Reginald Marsh (New York: H. N. Abrams, 1972), 40. [xxi] Thomas H. Garver, “Reginald Marsh and the City that Never Was,” in Reginald Marsh: A Retrospective Exhibition (Newport, CA: Newport Harbor Art Museum, 1972), unpaginated. [xxii] The curatorial files regarding the exhibition, which are in MoMA’s archive but not yet publicly available, may someday yield additional clues. Grace Mayer subsequently resigned from MCNY in 1959 to work as Steichen’s personal assistant in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art; she became a curator there in 1962. [xxiii] Marsh’s particular interest in capturing cultural phenomena in decline, such as burlesque and circus sideshows, also forms a kind of analog to Abbott’s Federal Art Project–sponsored book, Changing New York (1939), which chronicled the city’s transforming architectural geography, with particular emphasis on aspects of the city’s geography slated for demolition or in the process of disappearing. [xxiv] For additional information on Shahn’s New York photographs, see Deborah Martin Kao, Laura Katzman, and Jenna Webster, Ben Shahn’s New York: The Photography of Modern Times (Cambridge, MA and New Haven, CT: Harvard University Art Museums and Yale University Press, 2000).

ID:
90.36.1.273
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954)
[Double exposure of destitute men in the Bowery.]
ca. 1938
gelatin silver print
Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Felicia Meyer Marsh, 1990.
ADDITIONAL IMAGES
The Real City: Reginald Marsh’s Photographs of New York
Page 6

Surveying the archive of Marsh’s photographs begins to clarify how photography differed from sketching as a tool for the artist. First and foremost, the camera seems to have allowed him to record an abundance of figurative and architectural information with greater rapidity and accuracy than was possible with the sketches. His use of multiple, slightly varied shots of the same subjects to create works such as Modeling Furs on Union Square demonstrates the medium’s value in enabling him to recall and draw upon an array of poses, details, and potential compositional perspectives. In addition to its efficiency, the camera provided Marsh with raw images unadulterated by the biases and preferences that would invariably infiltrate his sketches, allowing him to remember sites and figures as they were, and, perhaps, to later seize on details that initially had gone unnoticed. Moreover, in certain situations the camera seemingly allowed Marsh to go undetected as he documented his sites and subjects—to be precisely the opposite of the conspicuous, theatrical artist depicted in Gene Pyle’s photographs—and thus to capture his subjects unaware. With their lack of technical sophistication, some of Marsh’s photographs are more successful than others. The rolls he shot inside Minsky’s burlesque hall, where the lighting was dim and he likely had to conceal his camera, are dark and blurry; the artist never printed them and they exist only as contact sheets (90.36.1.1556). [xxv] The intense sunlight at Coney Island beach, by contrast, made it one of Marsh’s most frequent and fruitful photographic locations. Hundreds of shots taken there reveal his fascination with the seemingly endless variations of the human body on public display (90.36.1.60, 90.36.1.2, 90.36.1.104, 90.36.1.206, 90.36.1.23). During the 1920s, the female bather had become the iconic representation of modern womanhood; by the 1930s, the low backs and elimination of modesty shorts in women’s swimwear led to unprecedented degrees of physical exposure, which Marsh documented at varying angles and proximity to his subjects. [xxvi] He especially focused on the awkward corporeal realities—the inelegantly revealed buttocks, splayed groins, and ungainly physical contortions of lounging female beachgoers—that were a routine but nevertheless titillating element of Coney Island life. As a foil to these, his shots of lifeguards, musclemen, and youths performing acrobatic feats exult in a vigorous masculine idealism (90.36.2.14.1C, 90.36.1.71). Marsh’s celebration of the beach’s bizarre contrasts and of the dialectic between the chaotic masses and intimate moments occurring amid the crowd, also informed canvases such as Lifeguards, Negroes on Rockaway Beach (1934) and Coney Island Beach (1934). At the same time, his photographs revel in a sense of spontaneous playfulness and lack of compositional rigor—qualities that are largely absent from the artist’s fastidiously organized paintings and drawings of the same subjects. .................................................................. [xxv] These images must have been shot sometime before Marsh purchased the Leica, since Minsky’s closed in 1937. [xxvi] For discussion of the significance of the female bather and body culture in art of the 1920s, see Teresa A. Carbone, “Body Language: Liberation and Restraint in Twenties Figuration,” in Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, Teresa A. Carbone, ed. (New York: Skira Rizzoli and Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum, 2011), 15–39.

ID:
90.36.1.23
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954)
[Couple embracing on Coney Island beach.]
ca. 1938
gelatin silver print
Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Felicia Meyer Marsh, 1990.
ADDITIONAL IMAGES
The Real City: Reginald Marsh’s Photographs of New York
Page 7

Indeed, it is this informal, uncomposed quality that distinguishes all of Marsh’s photographs from his painted imagery. What is most striking in comparing his work in the two media is the degree to which Marsh embellished his photographs in transferring them to painting, infusing them with physical and psychological intensity, sexual drama, and exaggerated fullness. For example, the teeming crowd of glamorous female shoppers in Mink and Mannequin or the voluptuous seductress who dominates Smoko, the Human Volcano are a far cry from their more modest and mundane photographic counterparts. By layering his own fantasies and fascination with Old Master compositional strategies over the fragmentary pieces of visual data gleaned from photographs, Marsh elevated his scenes to the realm of myth, creating what Thomas Garver called “the city that never was.” [xxxvii] Between the camera’s observation and the artist’s final composition, ordinary women were transfigured into modern-day versions of Rubenesque goddesses while scattered crowds were reimagined in terms of baroque order, abundance, and theatricality. Though Marsh is often categorized as a social realist, the vast distance between the urban realities portrayed in his photographs and his painterly vision candidly reveals his determination to fictionalize everyday life.” While photography was not the only tool in Marsh’s arsenal for transforming real-world subjects into the realm of art, his energetic pursuit of the medium beginning in 1938 may be linked to specific circumstances in his artistic development during this period. Throughout his career, Marsh experienced a conflicted relationship with painterly media. During his transition from illustrational work to painting in the late 1920s, he struggled with the oil medium, finding that his paintings were always “an incoherent pasty mess.” [xxviii] He was rescued from this predicament when Thomas Hart Benton introduced him to tempera, an egg-based paint adopted by many artists during the 1930s. Tempera’s ability to dry instantaneously enabled a rapidity of execution that suited Marsh's affinity for drawing and allowed him to create a calligraphic effect that invested his scenes with a sense of fluid activity and transience. By 1938, however, after producing a cycle of large-scale murals at the United States Customs House in lower Manhattan, he became dissatisfied with tempera, in particular, its inability to achieve the qualities of richness and depth that he sought, and he soon abandoned the medium altogether. [xxix] “I’m through with tempera and egg yolk,” Marsh remarked. “It gets a painting all gummed up. Watercolors give clarity, and allow for better drawing.” [xxx] .................................................................. [xxvii] Thomas H. Garver, “Reginald Marsh and the City that Never Was,” in Reginald Marsh: A Retrospective Exhibition, unpaginated. [xxviii] Marsh, quoted in Goodrich, Reginald Marsh, 30. [xxix] Ibid., 161–63, for more on this shift in Marsh’s development. [xxx] Ibid., 161, for Marsh quote.

ID:
90.36.1.461
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954)
[Children jumping off pier.]
ca. 1938
gelatin silver print
Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Felicia Meyer Marsh, 1990.
ADDITIONAL IMAGES
The Real City: Reginald Marsh's Photographs of New York
Page 8

It does not seem simply coincidental that this was precisely the moment when Marsh bought his Leica and began his most prolonged period of experimentation with photography. As has been discussed, the more than forty watercolors that Marsh produced between 1938 and 1940 often were informed by the subjects of his photographs. Beyond this, however, it may be possible to link the stylistic shifts that he introduced in these large-scale watercolors, which he adopted as his primary painterly vehicle in lieu of tempera during this period, to his experiments with the camera. Marsh’s watercolors of 1938–40 are marked by the emergence of sharply modeled, deeply contrasting lights and darks and weighty, substantial forms that may owe to the artist’s photographs, even in cases where he did not use them directly for subject matter. The lightened, transparent tonalities and turn to a cool palette of blues and silvery grays in these works likewise seem to indicate the influence of his photographic images. Thus, while Marsh’s photographs have long been considered merely a data collecting tool for his paintings, it is likely that they in fact played a more pivotal role in his artistic development, providing a springboard that allowed him to reinvigorate his aesthetic language and create a group of watercolors that Goodrich would describe as among his “liveliest and most technically successful works.” [xxxi] Unfortunately, just after their creation, Marsh’s restless experimentation with media led him to maroger, a newly invented painting technique that would give his canvas surfaces of the 1940s the quality of opaque, pasty sludge and obscure his gift for dexterous brushwork. [xxxii] Despite his departure onto this disastrous path, however, Marsh’s intensive engagement with photography during the late 1930s helped him to establish new formal and aesthetic priorities during a decisive moment of upheaval and transition, paving the way for the creation of his last great works of the decade, and, arguably, his career. .................................................................. [xxxi] Ibid., 162. [xxxii] Maroger was developed by Jacques Maroger, former technical director of the Louvre Museum laboratory, who claimed to have developed a medium that he believed was the lost secret of the old masters. Its principle feature was a paste emulsion that was both solid and transparent and that produced a heavy impasto. Marsh used maroger exclusively in his paintings from 1940 to 1945.

ID:
53.107.2
No. 6 -- Bowery
1944
Chinese ink
paper (fiber product)
watercolor (paint)
H: 40 1/2 in, W: 26 3/4 in
ADDITIONAL IMAGES