Reginald Marsh (1898-1954) "Green Pastures," Plymouth Theatre 14 5/8 x 22 7/8in (37.2 x 58.1cm)

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Lot 31
Reginald Marsh
(1898-1954)
"Green Pastures," Plymouth Theatre 14 5/8 x 22 7/8in (37.2 x 58.1cm)

Sold for US$ 6,375 inc. premium

American Art

24 Nov 2020, 16:00 EST

New York

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954)
"Green Pastures," Plymouth Theatre
signed 'Reginald Marsh' (lower right) and inscribed with title (lower center)
charcoal, ink and gouache on paper
14 5/8 x 22 7/8in (37.2 x 58.1cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Murray Schneider, San Diego, California.
    Gift to the present owner from the above, by 2008.

    Reginald Marsh was a cognoscente observer of urban life and theatrical performances, capturing his inspiration in countless paintings, sketches, illustrations, and drawings. The present work by Marsh depicts part I, scene IX from the play The Green Pastures being performed at New York's Plymouth Theatre, known today as the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. At center, Noah and his sons are seen aboard Noah's Ark and trying to warn their neighbors below who look on with either jeering or shocked expressions. Visible at right is a ramp and an elephant stepping forward, depicting the moment Noah's sons begin to board the animals on the ark while the rain comes down.

    The Green Pastures was written by playwright Marc Connelly (1890-1980) in 1930 and portrays episodes from the Old Testament as seen through the eyes of a young African American girl in the Depression-era South who interprets The Bible in terms familiar to her. The play was first performed at New York's Mansfield Theatre in 1930 shortly after it was written. In the first run of The Green Pastures, Connelly's character "De Lawd" or God was played by the renowned Richard Berry Harrison (1864-1935) and featured numerous African American spirituals from The Hall Johnson Choir arranged by composer Francis Hall Johnson (1888-1970).

    Connelly received the Pulitzer Prize for drama for The Green Pastures and it was considered a landmark in American drama for showcasing the first all-black Broadway cast. The play, and later film, were well received by white drama and film critics, but was criticized by African American cultural critics, intellectuals, and audiences for Connelly's claim to be presenting an authentic portrayal of black religious thought.
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