Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm Ba-ack!
Monday History
Reginald Marsh
"Why Not Use the 'L'?" 1930
Tempera on Board

Reginald Marsh (1898 - 1954)
Marsh painted at a time when Modern Art was all over - from Cubism to Abstract Expressionism. He is most known for his paintings of New York City and the Great Depression. Below is a great description of his point of view from Wikipedia:
Reginald Marsh rejected modern art, which he found sterile.[7] Marsh’s style can best be described as social realism. His work depicted the Great Depression and a range of social classes whose division was accentuated by the economic crash. His figures are generally treated as types. "What interested Marsh was not the individuals in a crowd, but the crowd itself ... In their density and picturesqueness, they recall the crowds in the movies of Preston Sturges or Frank Capra".

Marsh’s main attractions were the burlesque stage, the hobos on the Bowery, crowds on city streets and at Coney Island, and women.[5] His deep devotion to the old masters led to his creating works of art in a style that reflects certain artistic traditions, and his work often contained religious metaphors. "It was upon the Baroque masters that Marsh based his own human comedy",[5] inspired by the past but residing in the present. The burlesque queen in the etching Striptease at New Gotham (1935) assumes the classic Venus Pudica pose; elsewhere, "Venuses and Adonises walk the Coney Island beach [and] deposed Christs collapse on the Bowery".[4] The painting Fourteenth Street (1934, in the Museum of Modern Art, New York) depicts a large crowd in front of a theater hall, in a tumbling arrangement that recalls a Last Judgment.
Marsh filled sketchbooks with drawings made on the street, in the subway, or at the beach. Marolyn Cohen calls Marsh's sketchbooks "the foundation of his art. They show a passion for contemporary detail and a desire to retain the whole of his experience".[9] He drew not only figures but costumes, architecture, and locations. He made drawings of posters and advertising signs, the texts of which were copied out along with descriptions of the colors and use of italics.[9] In the early 1930s he took up photography as another means of note taking.

Signage, newspaper headlines, and advertising images are often prominent in Marsh's finished paintings, in which color is used to expressive ends—drab and brown in Bowery scenes; lurid and garish in sideshow scenes.[10]
So my question to you is this: What does the work "Why Not Use the 'L'" suggest?
Don't just assume - investigate! I look forward to your findings. Have a great Thanksgiving and until then, keep those pencils sharp and ideas fresh!

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