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Locomotives, Jersey City

1934 Reginald Marsh Born: Paris, France 1898 Died: Dorset, Vermont 1954 oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard 36 1/8 x 48 1/4 in. (91.9 x 122.5 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Felicia Meyer Marsh 1979.127.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 37B

Luce Center Label

Locomotives, Jersey City is from a series of paintings Reginald Marsh did in the 1930s that focuses on modes of transportation. Here, four mighty trains power along the tracks, while the smoke and steam emitted from the smokestacks trail behind. In the distance, Marsh painted a cloud of smoke using a thin oil wash, creating a backdrop that is both delicate and dense. Together, the distant smoke clouds and those coming from the locomotives obscure much of the sky. The painting's gritty colors reflect the urban environment of Jersey City, which was a manufacturing center in the years preceding World War II. Railroads, however, were the biggest employer and owned a third of the city's nearly fifteen square miles. It was here that the national train networks terminated (Andrew Jacobs, "A City Whose Time Has Come Again," New York Times, April 30, 2000).


Architecture - industry - railroad yard

Architecture - vehicle - train

Cityscape - New Jersey - Jersey City

Figure group


paint - oil

fabric - canvas