Locomotives, Jersey City

Media - 1979.127.1 - SAAM-1979.127.1_1 - 5645
Copied Reginald Marsh, Locomotives, Jersey City, 1934, oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard, 36 1848 14 in. (91.9122.5 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Felicia Meyer Marsh, 1979.127.1

Artwork Details

Locomotives, Jersey City
36 1848 14 in. (91.9122.5 cm.)
mount upper left in crayon: F.M.
Credit Line
Bequest of Felicia Meyer Marsh
Mediums Description
oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard
  • Figure group
  • Landscape
  • Architecture — vehicle — train
  • Architecture — industry — railroad yard
  • Cityscape — New Jersey — Jersey City
Object Number

Artwork Description

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).