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Texas Guinan and Her Gang

On view

Texas Guinan and Her Gang

Artist: Reginald Marsh (American, 1898 - 1954)

Date: 1931
Medium: Tempera on canvas
Framed: 41 1/2 x 53 5/8 x 3in. (105.4 x 136.2 x 7.6cm)
Overall: 36 1/8 x 48in. (91.8 x 121.9cm)
Signed: l.r.: 'Reginald Marsh 1931'
Credit Line: Edward W. Root Bequest
Object number: 57.196
Label Text
Mary Louise Cecilia Guinan (1884-1933), was born in Waco, Texas, and lived a colorful and varied life as a real cowgirl, a movie-cowgirl in early Hollywood, a vaudevillian, and nightclub hostess during the Prohibition era of the Roaring ‘20s. Known as Texas, she greeted the swells and gangsters alike to her speakeasies with a big “Hello, sucker!” and carried noise-making clappers like the one in her hands in the painting. Her clubs were often raided by the police, because alcohol was of course outlawed, though Texas insisted she only served mixers.

Reginald Marsh aptly captured the garish entertainment of Texas’ joint. We, the viewers, are caught up in the mix of the show girls in their gaudy costumes and the leering patrons, all of whom are shoved to the very front of the composition, practically tumbling into our space. We can almost hear Texas shout her trademark, “Let’s give the little lady a great big hand!”

Mary E. Murray
Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Presumed copyright: the artist or the artist's representative/heir(s) / Licensing by ARS, New York, NY.