End of 14th Street Crosstown Line
A highly educated and sophisticated man, Marsh cultivated a populist reputation as an urban realist during the 1930s. The son of artists, Marsh studied at Yale and the Art Students League as a young man. Like the artists of the Ashcan School in the previous generation, he worked as an illustrator for various New York newspapers and magazines, an experience that influenced his choice of subject matter when he turned to painting. Later associated with the "Fourteenth Street School" - a group named after a busy crosstown street in lower Manhattan that also included Isabel Bishop and Raphael Soyer - Marsh specialized in scenes of pulsating street life around New York's Union Square. Despite his privileged origins in an upper-class family, Marsh was deeply affected by the plight of the common man, and portrayed scenes of New York life from Depression era breadlines to the beaches at Coney Island. Painted during an era of labor unrest in Union Square, "End of 14th Street Crosstown Line" juxtaposes construction workers tearing up old trolley car lines with picketers demonstrating against Ohrbach's, a store that had refused to allow its workers to unionize. Masterfully painted in egg tempera, a demanding technique he had been using since the late 1920s, the work exhibits Marsh's use of signs and other graphics to enhance meaning.
Date of Birth
Egg tempera on composition board
framed: 32 1/2 x 44 1/2 x 3 in. (82.55 x 113.03 x 7.62 cm.); unframed: 24 x 36 1/8 in. (60.96 x 91.7575 cm.)
Henry D. Gilpin Fund
© Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York