The Bowery

Reginald Marsh American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 902

Marsh’s urban scenes of Depression era New York highlighted the hobos of the Bowery, where he frequently sketched. Using a brown palette for The Bowery, Marsh painted a crowded scene of down and out men standing along Bowery Street, surrounded by signage, and with the Third Avenue elevated railway seen above. In 1929, Thomas Hart Benton introduced Marsh, a colleague and close friend, to the medium of egg tempera, and from 1929 to 1940 tempera became his preferred medium for such major works as The Bowery. Like Benton, Marsh’s rhythmic and often bawdy compositions were influenced by Renaissance and Baroque masters. They were nonetheless deeply rooted in the harsh realities of 1930s America.

The Bowery, Reginald Marsh (American, Paris 1898–1954 Dorset, Vermont), Tempera on Masonite

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