William James Glackens (American, 1870–1938)
Oil on canvas
25 x 30 in. (63.5 x 76.2 cm)
Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), 1967 (67.187.126)
As New York's population burgeoned about 1900, more and more residents sought escape from crowded neighborhoods and summer heat. Although affluent urbanites could spend vacations at fashionable resorts that developed along the coasts of New England and Long Island (see, for example, William Merritt Chase, At the Seaside, 1892, 67.187.123), less prosperous city-dwellers were limited to taking day trips to nearby beaches and amusement parks. On a Saturday afternoon or Sunday, thousands of working-class and middle-class visitors might descend on recreation areas such as Coney Island, on Brooklyn's south shore, or South Beach, on Staten Island's east shore. Glackens' Crowd at the Seashore portrays such a diverse throng, possibly at Coney Island. Glackens signals the pleasure of a day off from work with vibrant color and energetic brushwork, which underscore the scene's energy and the sunlight's brilliance.