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 Frederic Dana Marsh  (1872 - 1961)

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Lived/Active: Florida/New York/Illinois / France      Known for: figure, industrial genre, marine, portrait and mural painting

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Ad Code: 3
Frederick Dana Marsh
from Auction House Records.
St Joe
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in 1872 in Chicago, son of James Marsh, a stockyards commission merchant and wealthy pork packer, Frederic Marsh Frederic Marsh had a wide-ranging career, which included paintings of Parisian scenes; industrial genre influenced by his observations in New Jersey; World War I poster designs; murals for Hudson River Lines, Grosse Pointe, Michigan Country Club and Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York; and pictorial maps for John D. Rockefeller, Jr., William Rockefeller and E.F. Hutton. His clients included D. Rockefeller Jr., William Rockefeller, E.H. Hutton, Herbert Pratt and other millionaires.

In 1902, Marsh was elected to the Society of American Artists, which in 1906 merged with its members into the National Academy of Design.

At age 16, Frederic began working for his father, and with the assumption he would follow him into business, trained in industrial schools.  However, he showed strong interest and talent in fine art, and soon his father consented to his son's education at the Chicago Art Institute, which he entered in 1890.  He was expected, however, to help with expenses, so he took jobs after classes with well-known artists who were shaping up murals for the Chicago World's Fair.  This grounded him in mural techniques of the big wall, big-brush type.

Marsh went to New York City in 1894, and the next year, having married miniature painter Alice Randal, also a student of the Art Institute, went to Paris where his independent attitude toward the pursuit of art led him to avoid workshop study.  The couple lived in a Montparnasse studio where two sons and future artists, James and Reginald, were born. Marsh exhibited in the Paris Salons of 1898 and 1900, and one of his 1900 entries was Lady in Scarlet, a full-length portrait of his young wife, in vivid and luminous red.  It won the International Bronze Medal and was widely exhibited abroad and in the U.S.

Coming back to the United States in 1900 after seven years in Paris, the artist was impressed by the sight of brawny workmen swinging out on girders and riveting the lacy skeletons of the earliest skyscrapers on lower Manhattan.  March and his family settled into a pattern of spending summers in Sakonnet, Rhode Island where Marsh was an avid yachtsman, and the remainder of the year in the well-established art colony of Nutley, New Jersey. In 1914, the family moved to New Rochelle, New York, and in 1928, he and his wife moved to Ormond Beach, Florida where Alice died in 1930.

In 1928, Marsh retired completely from art production on a commercial basis. Within a year he had lost his parents, his wife and his third and youngest son.  He moved to Ormond Beach where, on a long stretch of Atlantic Ocean frontage, he had begun to build a home. For the rest of his life he split his time between Ormond Beach, FL and Woodstock, NY.

In 1930 Marsh married Miss Mabel Van Alstyne, a New York and Woodstock artist, and they appeared to have a notable artistic partnership, which included being some of the founders of the Woodstock Art Colony. Together they also finished a new home, embellishing every inch of it with their own hands.

Frederick Dana Marsh died December 20, 1961.

Sources include:

David Dearinger, "Frederic Dana Marsh", Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, Volume One, 1826-1925

The Daytona Beach Morning Journal, December 21, 1961]

Submission July 2005 by Bob Constant who wrote: "The papers of Frederick Dana Marsh are archived at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

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