Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Salon + Flash Fiction Challenge

Reginald Marsh's incredible work as an artist had somehow escaped me until a couple of days ago I saw three of his paintings on Patti Abbott's blog. I was instantly smitten.

"I must see more," I said.

And I did.  Ain't the internet grand?

A bit of bio:

Reginald Marsh (1898 - 1954) was an American artist born in France. but he grew up in New Jersey. He is most notably known for his riotous, vivid in movement, paintings of NYC in the 1920's and 30's.  Marsh captured the hurly-burly of Depression era streets, crowded Coney Island beaches, the Bowery, burlesque shows and other assorted low-cost entertainments. All were fodder for his creative mind. When The New Yorker began publication in 1925, Marsh was one of their first cartoonists.

Interestingly enough, one of Marsh's early art teachers was famed American painter John Sloan. (Whose paintings of NYC, I featured on a Saturday Salon post a few weeks ago.)

Marsh's body of work comes under the label of Social Realism. Work that was heavily influenced by Marsh's admiration of Rembrandt, Titian, Tintoretto and Rubens whom he studied when he visited Paris again as a young man.

Later in his life, when Reginald Marsh taught at the Art Students League of NY, one of his students was Roy Lichtenstein.

To read more about Reginald Marsh, please use this link to his Wikipedia page and/or these other or

Now for the Flash Fiction Challenge News. Patti Abbott will donate five dollars to Union Settlement, a social services agency in Harlem, currently in need of funding - for every short story we write and submit. The deadline is October 18th. So we need to start writing. (I'm in.) Please go to Patti's website, PATTINASE to get ALL the details. Don't delay.

The writing prompt is this: The story must be based on any one of Reginald Marsh's paintings. 

Cool - huh?


  1. Wonderful art here.

    I wish I had the energy right now to write a short story. Several of the paintings tempt me, including the one of two wealthy women on the subway with a hatbox.

    However, I will donate to the Harlem organization as well in lieu of a story. It's a great idea. Thanks to Patti Abbott for thinking of this, and to you for this art.

    I'm sitting here looking at a painting by another social realist, Ralph Fasanella, of the Lawrence 1912: The Bread and Roses Strike, autographed to my father.

  2. Interesting paintings by Reginald Marsh. I recognized Coney Island right away, epecially the Steeplechase horse ride of old!

  3. I'm in love! How can you not like these.

    The idea for the flash ficiton contest sounds great.

  4. Thanks for the ones new to me, Yvette. The one in the DIA is amazing and given a really good location.

  5. Thaks, Kathy. Any donation you make will be appreciated. But I wish you'd try your hand at writing a short piece. I wasn't going to do it at first, I was kind of intimidated. But then I thought: why not?

    And I'm so envious of you having an autographed Fasanella in your home. I've just enjoyed looking at his work online. Another great discovery for me. :)

  6. Pat: Yeah, he captured the frenzy of Coney Island on a weekend. :)

    I'll bet in those early days it was one of the few places you could go and spend the day at the beach or on the boardwalk for very little money. Cheap fun. :)

  7. Ryan: Aren't they wonderful? I've been making all sorts of new art discoveries lately. Fun.

  8. Oh, you're so welcome, Patti. It's thanks to you that I've discovered Marsh's work. And thanks to you also for coming up with the Flash Ficition Challenge. As a previous commentor on your blog said: You rock!

    Yeah, you do. :)

  9. I'd never heard of Reginald Marsh--most of my art history courses were Renaissance/Baroque. Thanks for enlightening me! :-)

  10. Lauren: You're welcome. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    I guess you coud say that my interests in art are eclectic. :)

  11. Thanks Yvette for encouraging me.

    I just have a heavy-duty schedule for a week and then on to regular tasks.

    Yes, I inherited the Fasanella from myfather, who knew him. I've also got a Jack Levine original print owned by my mother which I've been trying to sell but have no idea what to do about it.

    Our family's house was filled with paintings by French impressionists and social realism and pre-Colombian and Inuit sculptures. And lots of art books, my mother's doing.

  12. Kathy: You are very fortunate to have grown up surrounded by books and art and parents who appreciated both. :)

    While my father was an artist, he seemed to have no interest in art as a whole. He was an excellent copyist but had no real originality. Still, I thank him for my drawing skills.

  13. Yes, you are an artist in many ways, even in designing this website with such a keep appreciation for art and artists of many types.

    Yes, I was lucky to be surrounded by art and books -- and music. My mother was a classically trained pianist and we had music all of the time, luckily not only classical but folk, even show tunes.

    I forgot to add that we also had a lot of mural art from Mexico, and I'm lucky to inherited a small section of a Diego Rivera mural which my parents had since before I was born, which is now right above my computer.

    Lots of culture, art and politics and history in our house. However, being kids, we still liked lots of tv shows and movies, and comedies reigned supreme most of the time.

  14. Kathy: Your house sounds like the house of a friend of mine in high school. She lived up the street from Bergdorf Goodman in a brownstone that belonged to her family. It was a revelation to me when I visited her. I've never forgotten it.

    Books everywhere and art and good conversation. As I said, a revelation.

    My grandmother was a classical pianist but for whatever reason I don't remember ever hearing her play. We left Puerto Rico when I was only about 4 or so.

    So now I surround myself with books and art and music and all the things I missed when I was a kid.

    Isn't that always the way?

  15. Great to hear about Montalbano's new adventure and his reading as well.

    Wonder what he thinks of Camilleri's writing. Does he mention that?

    Has Montalbano ever mentioned another terrific Italian writer, Antonio Tabucchi?

    I just read The Missing Head of
    Damesceno Monteiro by Tabucchi, a well-done book.

    It's pretty certain that Camilleri and Tabucchi know each other but wonder if Montalbano has mentioned him.

  16. Kathy, I think you meant this comment for another post. I'm a little at sea. You must have been discussing Camilleri's books which I have yet to read. Never did get around to them this summer.

    Life interfered. I did spend kind of a sluggish summer.

  17. Omigosh, and I was wondering why it didn't appear at that blog.

    However, Salvo Montalbano is a great character. He's a smart detective, but so eccentric, has a great sense of humor.

    And he's aging, so he's even more of a curmudgeon, aggravated at skills he thinks he can't do as well as he used to, having a middle-aged crisis about his love life, and so on.

    And, this being Italy, he is either remembering a meal, eating a meal (at a cafe before he goes home for a meal), or anticipating a meal. (He likes pasta and fish.)

    You should treat yourself to this series. I'm saving some up like dessert, don't want to read all of them yet.

    Ah, yes, life interfered this summer, and for me, the heat got me so I was more sluggish.

  18. On a short story on the bottom painting, I'd get as far as this:

    Edith Thigwhistle and Sylvia Chesworth were annoyed because their limousine had broken down and they were forced to take the "underground" service after a long, tiring day of shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue.

    They were on their way home to their respective brownstones on East 77th Street.

    However, everything had gone wrong that day: Edith's pet King Charles spaniel, Prince Edward, got sick and had to be taken to the veterinarian's office. Then her butler and housekeeper had called to say they were otherwise occupied and couldn't come to work.

    Then Sylvia's limousine had broken down on the way to pick up the fur-attired shoppers.

    On top of that, they both were stunned by stock market dives which had decreased their rather comfortable nest eggs by a large sum.

    Nevertheless, they were determined to go to Saks, buy some accessories, have lunch and indulge in a good chat, updating each other on gossip about their families and friends.

    (Now I'm done with my tongue lodged firmly in my cheek, having no ideas further about these two Upper East Side women.) This is fun but I'm exhausted.

  19. Kathy: I will, eventually get to the Montalbano books. Never fear. :)

  20. Fun story, Kathy. But you'll have to send in Sylvia and Edith's tale of woe to have Patti send the five bucks. Poor Edith and Sylvia, being rich is such a chore. Ha! Check out Patti's blog to see where the story should go. The link is in my post.


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