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George Tilyou's Steeplechase

1932 Reginald Marsh Born: Paris, France 1898 Died: Dorset, Vermont 1954 oil and egg tempera on linen mounted on fiberboard 30 1/8 x 40 1/8 in. (76.5 x 101.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation 1986.6.60 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

Steeplechase Park was one of three amusement parks at Coney Island in Brooklyn. Here Marsh showed a couple astride one of the mechanical horses that raced around the Pavilion of Fun on iron rails that, in places, were as high as thirty-five feet above the ground. The nested bodies of the sailor and the girl exude the passion of young love, although the strained expression on the woman’s face may signal the transience of their affection.


Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection, 2014

Gallery Label

Marsh's paintings capture the human energy of New York's crowded neighborhoods and tenements. Working class men and women of the 1930s were obliged to do their socializing in public, and this image of a popular Coney Island ride reflects the bawdy and uninhibited atmosphere of the midway. Marsh's initial drawing shows through the paint glazes, preserving the noise and hustle of the moment.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Architecture - commercial - George Tilyou's Steeplechase

Architecture - commercial - recreation

Figure group

Recreation - sport and play - equestrian

Recreation - sport and play - racing

painting

paint - oil

paint - tempera

fabric - linen

fiberboard