NARRATOR: Reginald Marsh’s favorite subject was New York street life, especially around Union Square and Fourteenth Street, where he maintained a studio beginning in 1929. Despite his upper-class origins, Marsh preferred working-class entertainments to elite ones. The agitated lines and bulging masses of Marsh’s figures convey a vitality and robust sexuality.
Marsh sketched constantly, and took photographs both as records to turn into artworks and as ends in themselves. His best photographs demonstrate his eye for vernacular detail, capturing signage for cheap hotels and barbers; advertisements for Coney Island freak shows; casual interactions between pedestrians; and thronged beaches on hot summer days.