Second Avenue El

marshsecondaveelReginald Marsh (1898-1954), Second Avenue El, etching, 1930, signed in pencil lower right margin and numbered (13) lower left. Reference: Sasowsky 93, Fourth state (of 4). From a total printed of about 19. In generally good condition apart from some ink marks in the margins (typical for proofs printed by Marsh himself), hinged with tape at upper corners, on a cream laid paper with slightly irregularly cut margins, 6 7/8 x 8 7/8, the sheet 8 5/8 x 10 3/4 inches.

A fine rich impression printed in black ink. This impression was printed by Marsh; it is among those Sasowsky notes as being numbered by Marsh, and of course the ink spots in the margins, as well as the slightly irregularly cut margins, also attest to a Marsh printing.

This is one of the Marsh prints that was chosen to be printed posthumously by the Whitney Museum in 1969 in an edition of 100 as a fund-raising venture.  Of course the posthumous impressions are mere shadowy reminders of rich lifetime impressions such as this example.

The Second Avenue El refers to an elevated train going along Second Avenue in New York City, which was taken down in 1942 to make way for a Second Avenue Subway, which has been in the planning stages for nearly 80 years

The two riders portrayed are bundled up; this etching was made in late winter of 1930.  The Great Depression began its long course (with the stock market crash of ’29) only several months before (one wonders whether these riders – as well as Marsh – might now be contemplating its consequences).