Crowd at the Seashore

Artist: William James Glackens (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1870–1938 Westport, Connecticut)

Date: ca. 1910

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 25 x 30 in. (63.5 x 76.2 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), 1967

Accession Number: 67.187.126


Like his fellow urban realists, Glackens was drawn to Coney Island, and this painting may depict the democratic throngs that gathered there. The number and variety of beachgoers suggest the socioeconomic diversity of New York, and imbue the painting with a lively, modern spirit. To heighten the scene’s energy, Glackens used a vibrant palette and vigorous brushwork, applying saturated oranges and blues to evoke the midday sun’s heat and glare. Beach scenes became a popular theme for Glackens, especially as a way to experiment with a certain kind of impressionist painting, inspired by Auguste Renoir, who his friend Albert Barnes collected in depth.