Reginald Marsh (American, 1889-1954)
George Washington Bridge (Palisades) (1936)
Etching, 8 x 10”
Gift of Helen Benton Boley, 1918.104.22.168a
Marsh is known as an urban realist who showed the gritty underside of life in New York City during the 1920s and 1930s. He also made sweeping panoramic views of the city skyline and the rivers that surround Manhattan in prints and watercolors.
The George Washington Bridge had the longest main bridge span in the world from the time of its dedication in 1931 until the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937. Marsh’s print contrasts the bridge’s engineering with the rocky New Jersey Palisades, which offer two hikers a respite from the urban hustle.
Spanning the Gap
Two hikers view the wide Hudson River, which, along most of its lower length, resembles a subdued version of a Norwegian fjord. Both are drowned glacial valleys carved in bedrock with steep sides. Bridges in general, and suspension bridges in particular, are engineering marvels that depend on the technology produced by the cognitive algorithm we call science. The palisades are beautiful, hard-rock cliffs composed of volcanic rock that were streamlined by sliding glacial ice.