In 1919, Thomas Hart Benton introduced Marsh to the egg tempera medium. Marsh wrote of the unique medium, “…It opened a new world to me. Egg is a fine ‘draftsman’s’ vehicle and very easy to handle…The luminosity and clearness of drawing is preserved, yet a certain greasy quality of the yolk gives a ‘fat,’ oily effect. Drying is instantaneous, and superimposed brush strokes are easily made…I put egg yolk on a kind of belt line production for a dozen years and chucked oil forever” (as quoted by Lloyd Goodrich, Reginald Marsh, 1955, p. 8). Marsh utilized tempera extensively for the remainder of his career. As demonstrated in works such as Cabaret, this immediate and multilayered medium allowed him to expertly capture the vitality and dynamism of urban life. The present work was used as an illustration for a story titled “Vaudeville Wears False Whiskers”, which was published in Fortune in 1938. Given Marsh’s close relationship with Senator William Benton, it may have been a direct gift from the artist or a later purchase by the Senator.
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