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 Anne Steele Marsh  (1901 - 1995)

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Lived/Active: New Jersey/New York      Known for: painting, printmaking-woodcuts, teaching

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Biography from Hunterdon Art Museum:
Anne Steele Marsh (1901-1995)

The life of Anne Steele Marsh was infused with art. She was born in Nutley, NJ, the daughter of a prominent illustrator, Frederic Dorr Steele, best known for his illustrations of the Sherlock Holmes stories. In 1925 she married James Randall Marsh, an artist and musician who was the son of painter-sculptor Frederick Dana Marsh and painter Alice Randall Marsh. The couple moved to Essex Fells, NJ that same year and to Pittstown in 1948. They had two sons and one daughter, all musically or artistically talented.

She attended Cooper Union Art School majoring in design, and the YMCA Art School where she studied tapestry, weaving and occupational therapy, which she taught for four years in the 1920s. From 1938-1945 she taught art at Buxton Country Day School in Short Hills and at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts.

She began exhibiting her paintings, watercolors and prints in 1935 and over time was shown in major museums throughout the U.S., in the Venice Biennale of 1940 and New York World’s Fairs of 1939 and 1965.

Recognized as a master at the art of wood engraving, her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia and Brooklyn Museums, New Jersey State Museum, New York and Newark Public Libraries, Montclair Museum, The Woodcut Society and many private collections. 

Planning and cutting a wood engraving requires care and patience and few artists pursue it. Although similar to a woodcut, an engraving differs in that it is cut in the hard, end-grain of small pieces of South American boxwood, which are then glued into a block.

In 1952, she and James helped lead a group of residents to purchase this stone mill and establish it as a center for arts and crafts. He served as the first president and she as director of exhibitions. In 1956, she chaired the first Annual National Print Exhibition, and over the next 35 years made it into a premier showcase for printmakers across the U.S.

The Museum’s permanent print collection now numbers over 200 pieces, all purchase awards from the yearly exhibitions. Among many contributions to the state’s cultural life, she founded the Associated Artists of New Jersey and served on the boards of  numerous art groups.
 

Written and submitted by Janet M. Hunt


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