Archive for the Reginald Marsh Category

George Tooker, Reqcuiscat in Pace

Posted in 20th century, Gay, George Platt Lynes, George Tooker, Jared French, Paul Cadmus, Pierro della Francesca, Recquiscat in Pace, Reginald Marsh on March 31, 2011 by babylonbaroque

I was saddened to read that George Tooker had died Sunday.

I have only just begun to appreciate his work, and that of his circle, and now he has passed, link to NYT obituary.

George Clair Tooker Jr.

Self Portrait


b. 5th August 1920

d. 27th March 2011

age 90

Described as a Symbolist and  a Magic Realist, labels he eschewed ; I find in Tooker’s work  ( this is  certainly not an original thought ) a strong link to the Renaissance, in particular the work of Piero della Francesca. It is not just his medium,  egg tempera, that calls this association to mind, his sensibilities, though decidedly modern, have strong roots in the rich Renaissance tradition, a modernist Neo-Renaissance perhaps.

Pierro della Francesca

St. Sebastian and St. John the Baptist

George Tooker

Window XI

part of the Windows series, 1950-1960.

Having a strong determination to paint, which was contrary to parental desire, Tooker majored in English Literature at Harvard ( this boy was no slouch) yet continued to paint. His circle included Reginald Marsh, Paul Cadmus ( who introduced Tooker to egg tempera) and Jared French; fine company, tremendous inspiration.

George Tooker by George Platt Lynes



Difficult to ignore a certain resemblance.

Perhaps his most disturbing portrait is Children and Spastics , three effeminate men being pummeled by little monsters. Was this mocking? empathetic? or merely an observation?

It is striking, and quite modern.

Children and Spastics


Museum of Contemporary Art


I was first drawn to Tookers work due to the following image, it is easy to understand my attraction.

Coney Island


Difficult to ignore the Pieta reference.

As I mentioned with the earlier image, Tooker created a series, Windows, during the 50’s and 60’s; comely Puerto Rican neighbors being  his inspiration.

Window XIII

The Window


After his longtime partner the painter William Christopher died in 1973 ( they had met in ’49, quite a commitment ), Tooker was understandably devastated. He followed a path I can sympathize with, he found comfort in the arms of the Mother Church, and moved to Vermont. Seems quite sensible.

The following link is a recent interview he gave to Vermont Public Radio, it’s a treat to hear his thoughts.

sourced from the New York Times

I found a rather complete gallery of Tooker’s work, unfortunately much isn’t titled or dated, but the images are ravishing.

It is a great loss, we will miss out on new Tooker paintings, mysterious, gorgeous work; fortunately he left a large body of work to absorb, contemplate and enjoy.



Good Night,

Babylon Baroque

Annual Fancy Dress Up Stag, and other naughty boys.

Posted in 19th cent., 20th century, Gay, George Bellows, Reginald Marsh on August 24, 2010 by babylonbaroque

In researching the last post, I stumbled upon an odd photo of handsome young men in costume, half in drag. All clearly having a lark . A very charming image, capturing what seemed to be great fun.

Annual Fancy Dress Up Stag


Louisiana State University

Agricultural and Mechanical students

by Mc Carty (?)

As we live in the age of Foucault and his “sexuality as a construction”, we know we musn’t read too much into these dispalys of male bonding and play.

OK, I won’t read too much into this, but can I at least find the couple in the center adorable?

I understand the notion of identity, social construction, etc. etc. But this camaraderie is very endearing and  apparently tender; is it really possible that intimate  (romantic)feelings were not present. Perhaps wholly chaste, perhaps just “practice”for future marriages.

We are left with a mysterious  un-answerable glimpse into their youthful lives.

Again another detail of these young men at play. Clever costumes, but what’s with the hooded fellow?

Another question raised is the meaning of a “stag party”, this photograph seems to indicate a annual meeting of boys only, “in fancy dress”, celebrating what?

Today we generally associate “stag” parties with a  raunchy get together, the sole purpose being  the intention of “sowing one’s oats” for the last time. Always seemed sordid and un-romantic to me, but there you go. I frankly wasn’t comfortable presenting any of the images that popped up when I googled “stag”.

A final detail, more cute boys in dresses and their admirers in summer whites.

Although I found plenty of images of sordid gatherings , men acting badly with strippers in Craotia and Prague, I found no link to what this Louisiana gathering meant.

I resort to George Bellows ( 1882-1925) magnificent Stag at Sharkeys.

Stag at Sharkey’s


In my vain attempt to find another link, I enclose Reginald Marsh’s ( 1898-1954), super sexy Coney Island.

Coney Island


Granted, a very weak link, but the painting is beautiful.

Perhaps my following image is the strongest link to the “Stag” theme.

Majestic Stag


Wm. Holbrook Beard


National Museum of Wildlife Art

Have a great day.