Enclosure Artist Reginald Marsh Work on Display at Roosevelt House

Nutley Enclosure artist Reginald Marsh, New Deal Murals

June 2024 -- Nutley Historical Society Art Historian Barry Lenson made a pleasant discovery while visiting Roosevelt House on the Upper East Side of New York City. There, Lenson spotted the work of Enclosure Artist Reginald Marsh.

Reginald Marsh’s parents were both artists living in Paris when Reginald was born in 1898. Two years later, his father, Fred Dana Marsh, moved to a new home and studio at 16 Enclosure, in Nutley. Throughout his childhood, young Reginald was taught to draw, influenced not only by his father, but also by contemporaries such as Albert Sterner, Ernest Haskell, and George Bellow, all frequent visitors to his Nutley home which became a popular weekend location for artists to exchange ideas.

At Yale University, Reginald Marsh became a cartoonist on the “Yale Record,” then a freelance artist for “Vanity Fair” and the “New York Daily News.” During his mid-twenties, Marsh started to paint and soon became engrossed in what he called, “the great surrounding panorama of New York.” He developed what some called a “lusty technique” in painting New York scenes. He once told of his love for, “the great Coney Island Beach for its infinite number and kinds of people, for the physical manifestations of people from head to toe, its variety of design and its great vitality.”

Despite his often-radical political views, Reginald Marsh was commissioned in the 1930’s by the U.S. government to paint the large murals on post office walls depicting the transfer of mail. Marsh’s paintings have been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, Addison Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Boston Museum among other notable locations. In 1943, Marsh was elected a full academician by the National Academy of Design. He died in Dorset, Vt., on July 3, 1954.

Sources: Nutley Hall of Fame; Nutley Free Public Library; Nutley Notables, Vol. 1.

The Enclosure Artists Colony, Nutley NJ

The Enclosure Artists Colony

The Enclosure Historic District That Almost Wasn't

Artists of Nutley NJ

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