Marjorie Reed

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Reed’s early start allowed her make her living as an artist for over sixty years. As a result she left behind a very large body of work, consisting primarily of Western themes. Although best known for her Butterfield paintings, her oeuvre covered a wide range of subjects including burros, conquistadors, cowboys, Arizona trading posts, and California missions. She also painted “quite a lot of (Grand) Canyon scenes” and hundreds of paintings of the Navajo country.

One of Reed's best known series is a large collection of canvasses she signed "Harvey Day." Reed claimed in a letter, written the year before her death, that she used her husband’s name to “get a little break from a too busy life.” She also stated the paintings were created in the early 1940s, when Day had a job near the Grand Canyon.

However the Harvey Day paintings were actually created in the mid-1950s, several years after Day's death, as part of an arrangement with a Los Angeles dealer who sold the paintings through a Western furniture store chain. A different signature was used so there would be no conflict with any of her existing art gallery obligations. The steady cash flow provided by the agreement allowed her to devote her time and energies toward the completion of her first California Butterfield series.

Harvey Day was Reed's second husband and, according to those who knew her best, the great love of her life. Her first husband, Harry Lindgren, was regarded as Hollywood's premier sound engineer when the two married in 1939. The marriage produced two children; a daughter, Judy, in 1940 and a son, Steve, in 1944.

 

However by 1945 the two were divorced.  Reed then went from a large home in the Hollywood Hills to a living in rustic desert and mountain shacks. By 1946 she had hooked up with Day, an itinerant ranch hand who was in and out of prison numerous times for crimes ranging from forged checks to auto theft. He committed suicide in 1952 while an inmate at the Montana State Prison.

In 1955 she married Lynn Molgard, Day's brother in law, and the two operated mink ranches in Colorado for the next year. After divorcing Molgard, she returned to Julian, California where she spent the next two years creating both her Harvey Day and California Butterfield series. Shortly thereafter she met her fourth husband, Cecil Creese. Reed's marriage to Creese lasted over twenty years, more than twice as long as her first three combined. Although he may not have been the great love of her life a la Harvey Day, he helped provide a stability that had been missing for most of her adult life. Creese was a prospector and mining engineer.  The pair lived in various areas throughout the West, including the Salmon River in northern California and Arivaca and Amado in southern Arizona. The union ended with his death in Tombstone, Arizona in 1978.

In the early 1970s Valley Bank of Arizona commissioned Reed to do a series of paintings on the Trading Posts of Arizona. Not long afterward a private collector commissioned her to do a series of nine paintings of Hopi scenes in the Three Mesas area. In addition to the original Butterfield series, she created several hundred additional paintings of both Butterfield and other stage scenes.

 

 

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We are always interested in purchasing or accepting on consignment work by Marjorie Reed.  Please contact us with any inquiries.

  Marjorie Reed Arizona Sunset
 

Arizona Sunset

24 x 36 Oil on Canvas Circa 1957

   
  Marjorie Reed North of San Felipe
 

The Butterfield North of San Felipe, California

24 x 36 Oil on Canvas Circa 1962

   
  Marjorie Reed Circa 1954
 
Marjorie Reed-Palm Desert, California Circa 1954
   
 
Marjorie Reed Escort
 

Escort

24 x 36 Oil on Canvas Circa 1955

   
 

 

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