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Image of Movie on 42nd Street

Reginald Marsh
American, 1898–1954

Movie on 42nd Street


Object Type: Drawing
Creation Place: North America, American, New York
27 in. x 39 7/8 in. (68.58 cm x 101.28 cm)
Medium and Support: Ink and watercolor on paper
Accession Number: 1979.0003.0002

Credit Line: Gift of the Estate of Felicia Meyer Marsh
Copyright: © The Estate of Reginald Marsh / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Motion pictures became a primary form of entertainment for the urban population in the 1930s. Particularly for Reginald Marsh’s lower- and working-class subjects, the movies provided a psychological respite from the poverty of the Depression and, later, gave general access to the glamorous life of the wealthy and famous. The frieze of figures arrayed along the sidewalk in "Movie on 42nd Street " demonstrates the strength of Marsh’s drawing ability and his skill as a recorder of urban types. Numerous characters appear on his stage—the harried businessman, the shop girl on her way to work, and the busty blonde ticket taker, who as much as the movie, seems to be on display as an attraction for passersby. Marsh’s brisk drawing style matches the stride of his figures as they cross the pictorial stage, merging with the endless flow of humanity in the metropolis.

American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, cat. no. 76, p. 184.

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