Irving Place Burlesk


Reginald Marsh (1898-1954), Irving Place Burlesk, etching, 1929, signed in pencil lower right and numbered (18) lower left. Reference: Sasowsky 75, third state (of 3). In very good condition, with margins (trimmed by Marsh in his usual fashion, i.e., slightly unevenly), on an ivory laid paper; 7 1/8 x 9 3/4, the sheet 8 5/8 x  10 3/4 inches. Archival mounting with window mat, unattached mylar hinging.

A suberb impression, printed by the artist in black ink on an ivory paper.

In contrast to many of his famed burlesque prints Marsh here focuses almost entirely on the audience – men smiling and frowning, smoking cigars and pipes, talking or concentrating – and on the theatre itself – the elaborate stage boxes and curtains.  These features are etched in strong black ink; the etching of the dancer at the far left is as light, and as ephemeral, as her outfit.

This impression was printed personally by Marsh. 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.)