Tattoo and Haircut

A work made of egg tempera on masonite.
© 2018 Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • A work made of egg tempera on masonite.

Date:

1932

Artist:

Reginald Marsh
American, 1898–1954

About this artwork

Of the foremost realists of the 1930s, Reginald Marsh was fascinated by public behavior and the exciting commotion of New York. Tattoo and Haircut portrays a busy scene of people below the massive structure of the El on the Bowery, then an area notorious as a skid row. Rendered in Marsh’s gently satirical style are several city types: a derelict on crutches, loitering men conversing or smoking cigarettes, a chic woman walking by herself. Marsh used an egg tempera medium to fill every inch of the composition with details, from architectural elements to signs and text. Introduced to the artist by the muralist Thomas Hart Benton, the medium suited Marsh’s keen skills as a draftsman. Here he added successive films of tempera in muted colors, using its mottled, uneven surface to emphasize the grimy nature of this world. His technique thus reinforces his presentation of the subject: cacophonous, dilapidated, and dim, yet vibrantly alive.

On View

American Art, Gallery 263

Artist

Reginald Marsh

Title

Tattoo and Haircut

Origin

United States

Date

1932

Medium

Egg tempera on Masonite

Dimensions

118.1 × 121.6 cm (46 1/2 × 47 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Earle Ludgin

Reference Number

1947.39

Copyright

© 2018 Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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