Reginald Marsh originals unearthed at Akiba’s March 26 John Cassara estate sale

Reginald Marsh, 'Men And Women At Play, Coney Island,' estimated at $25,000-$50,000 at Akiba.

DANIA BEACH, Fla. — John Victor Cassara (1934-2022) was an industry executive who created specialized insurance products for the Brownstone communities of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Boston Proper. Beyond the boardroom, he was a connoisseur of classical music, a skilled violinist since childhood, and an avid patron of the arts. And, it turns out, he was a huge collector of Reginald Marsh social realism originals depicting life in 1920s and 1930s New York. Twenty-five examples — along with numerous watches and other luxury items — come to market at Akiba Galleries Tuesday, March 26. The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Marsh (1898-1954) was born in Paris to American artists who returned to America in 1900 when Marsh was two. The Marsh family was affluent, with the patriarch having made millions in the meat-packing business. Marsh would go to private schools and ultimately graduate from the Yale School of Art, where he served as a cartoonist and illustrator for the Yale Record, the college humor magazine. His initial career consisted of commercial illustration, but upon taking a trip to Paris, his first since returning to America, he happened upon social realist and regionalist Thomas Hart Benton, who greatly influenced Marsh to take up painting as a full-time profession.

Today, Marsh is best remembered for walking the streets of New York, sketching everyday — and often off-beat — scenes of regular working-class life. It is this period of work, that would continue up to his early death at 56, which comprises the bulk of the Cassara collection.

Akiba has placed the sinister-looking Two Women Picked by Ike for Top Places (Third Avenue El) at the top of the Marsh estimates, with a $30,000-$50,000 range. Produced only two years before his death in 1952, it carries provenance directly from Mr. and Mrs. Henry Luce, the former being the publishing titan who created Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated magazines.

Men And Women At Play, Coney Island shows Marsh’s unique ability to capture kinetic activity, a trademark of much of his work. The tempera on panel is signed and dated Reginald Marsh 1938 and was previously sold at Sotheby’s in 2012. Its estimate is $25,000-$50,000.

In high heels with her dress and long blonde hair blowing in the wind, Merry Go Round again celebrates the New York Coney Island environment with an active subject — in this instance, a happy young woman. Signed and dated Marsh 48, this oil-on-panel painting is assessed as being in ‘great overall condition.’ Akiba has placed an estimate of $20,000-$40,000 on this lot.

Bowery Bums, Babes, and Barber Poles may be the most quintessential Marsh painting in the sale. Featuring a combination of the aforementioned elements, the viewer is instantly taken to the place through the depiction of action and emotion. Created around 1944, the watercolor, ink, and gouache on paper has a $6,000-$12,000 estimate.

Marsh liked to paint New York beyond just its inhabitants. Brooklyn Bridge, from 1933, shows the iconic span along with tugs in the East River. The watercolor on paper is signed and dated Reginald Marsh 33 and is estimated at $6,000-$12,000.

Swann showcases Artists of the WPA Jan. 27

James Daugherty, maquette for the social room of the Fairfield Court Housing Project in Stamford, Conn., est. $5,000-$7,000
James Daugherty, maquette for the social room of the Fairfield Court Housing Project in Stamford, Conn., est. $5,000-$7,000
James Daugherty, maquette for the a room in the Fairfield Court Housing Project in Stamford, Conn., est. $5,000-$7,000

NEW YORK — Continuing a tradition of offering specialized auctions, Swann Galleries will offer its second edition of The Artists of the WPA on Thursday, January 27 which aims to call attention to the generation of artists that contributed to the Federal Arts Project and the varying “alphabet agencies” and helped form a new American identity in the 20th century. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Hindman to hold trio of fine art auctions, Dec. 13-15

N.C. Wyeth, ‘When Drake Saw for the First Time the Waters of the South Sea,’ est. $200,000-$400,000
N.C. Wyeth, ‘When Drake Saw for the First Time the Waters of the South Sea,’ est. $200,000-$400,000
N.C. Wyeth, ‘When Drake Saw for the First Time the Waters of the South Sea,’ est. $200,000-$400,000

CHICAGO – This month, Hindman will present three days of fine art sales featuring more than 300 works of art. The trio of auctions begin with American and European Art on December 13, followed by Post War and Contemporary Art on December 14 and ending with Prints and Multiples on December 15. Remarkable collections and artworks will be featured, including major works by N.C. Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Orville Bulman, Hans Hofmann, Larry Poons, Frank Stella, Julie Mehretu, Roy Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Treasures from Atlanta collections take center stage at Hindman, May 21

Edmond-Louis Dupain, ‘La Plage a Saint-Malo,’ estimated at $3,000-$5,000
Edmond-Louis Dupain, ‘La Plage a Saint-Malo,’ estimated at $3,000-$5,000
Edmond-Louis Dupain, ‘La Plage a Saint-Malo,’ estimated at $3,000-$5,000

ATLANTA – On May 21, Hindman will present its spring Atlanta Collections auction which blooms with artwork, furniture, and decorative objects from important regional collections and estates—and some sales will benefit area non-profits. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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