Friday, June 10, 2011

Picturing Coney Island

Reginald Marsh, 1936
Tempera on panel, 59” x 35”
Via artchive

"I like to go to Coney Island because of the sea, the open air, and the crowds—crowds of people in all directions, in all positions, without clothing, moving—like the great compositions of Michelangelo and Rubens." --Reginald Marsh

The New York Times took yesterday’s heat as the opportunity to run its annual Coney Island photo on today’s front page. I like to think of it as just the latest installment in the long tradition of depicting the famed beach over the years.

Wegee, 1940

“… a great jammed clutter of human bodies,” was how photographer Weegee once described midsummer Coney Island.

You can see this image really large here. Read about "Weegee’s Day at the Beach" in Smithsonian and see more Coney Island images by the photographer.

Fortune has posted "To Heaven by Subway," an article about Coney Island, from its August 1938 issue. The above painting is by Robert Riggs, who illustrated the story.

From the same era as the Marsh and Riggs
paintings, is this 1932 picture by Mabel Dwight.

View of the beach from the air, Life, August 12, 1940.

Reginald Marsh, Coney Island Scene, c. 1932.
University of Virginia

Reginald Marsh, Coney Island Beach, etching, 1934.

It looks like Marsh was actually standing in the water when
he painted In the Surf, Coney Island, 1946.

In extreme heat, it was as crowded under the boardwalk as it was on the beach. Weegee, 1940.

George Tooker, 1947.

Lorenzo Homar, Muscle Beach – Coney Island, 1949
Princeton Library

Daily News, July 23, 2010.

Postcard, A Typical Crowd on a Hot Day at Coney Island, N.Y.

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