Star Burlesk


Reginald Marsh (1898-1954), Star Burlesk, 1933, etching, signed in pencil lower right margin.  Reference: Sasowsky 142.  First state of three.

A very fine, early, clear and sharply printed proof impression of the very rare (perhaps unique) first state. (Sasowsky calls for only one impression of the first state, two of the second, and then an edition of an unknown number, probably about 20-25).  In this impression  some of the columns have yet to be shaded, the upper left corner is not yet fully etched, and some addititional shading has yet to be added to some of the heads in the foreground.

Star Burlesk was one of a series of such subjects undertaken by Marsh, and in the view of many observers (including this writer), is his most effective.  The burlesque show took place at the Minsky’s Theatre in New York.  Marsh had studied at Yale, and traveled through Europe, but found an inspiration in the life of New York.  He was interested in sex, and the human body, but not just as an academician – he insisted on portraying real life rather than studio models.  He discussed the burlesque work and world in these terms, “The whole thing is extremely pictorial.  You get a woman in the spotlight, the gilt architecture of the place, plenty of humanity.  Everything is nice and intimate.”

In very good condition, on white wove with margins (slight skinning margin corners verso), 12 x 9 (sheet 15 x 10 1/2) inches, archival mounting.