East Tenth Street Jungle – 1st State


Reginald Marsh (1898-1954), East Tenth Street Jungle, 1934, etching, signed and annotated “Second Proof, First State”, in pencil [also initialed and dated in the plate]. Reference: Sasowsky 154, first state of 4. In very good condition, with margins, mat stain in margins outside of platemark, remains of glue from prior hinging upper margin corners recto, some pencil notations lower margin. Size: 8 x 12, the sheet 10 x 13 3/4 inches, archival matting.

A fine, delicately printed trial proof impression.

This is one of the two first state impressions, with the composition completed but before shading in the wall at left, the addition of the smoke upper right, some strengthening of the foreground. There were another 3 trial proofs; then a small printing of up to 22 impressions (by Marsh).

There is a painting of similar design at Yale; and two related drawings at the Fogg at Harvard.

This Breugellian scene captures men in various states of struggle as they make their way through the Great Depression.

In Thomas Craven’s Treasury of American Prints (1939), Marsh is quoted as saying in response to a question about the size of his editions: “Since I do practically all my own printing, I do not limit the edition. The buyer limits the edition – he rarely buys, I rarely print. I usually print fifteen or twenty and sell one or two in the next five years – so why limit the edition?” (That was in 1939; today of course Marsh’s etchings are treasured as icons of American printmaking in the ’20’s and 30’s.)  East 10th Street Jungle is a rare proof before the “edition.”