Atlantic City Beach
Medium: Egg tempera on canvas on plywood
Dimensions: 36 x 60 in. (91.4 x 152.4 cm)
frame: 41 1/2 × 65 1/2 in. (105.4 × 166.4 cm)
Credit Line: Bequest of Mrs. Reginald Marsh, 1979
About: Reginald Marsh was drawn to the vitality of common life. A favorite motif was the public beach, particularly the beaches at Coney Island and Atlantic City where New Yorkers went to escape the summer heat. This crowded scene with its intertwined figures and leering glances shows the beach to provide little respite from summer in the city.
At the center of the painting, the artist included a single African American woman. Her presence reflects the history of that locale. Beaches in Atlantic City were not officially segregated, but beachfront hotel owners discouraged African Americans from using the beaches immediately in front of their hotels.
Black beachgoers began to gather on the beaches between Missouri and Mississippi Avenues. The area, known locally as Chicken Bone Beach for the large volume of chicken bones discarded there, attracted top African American entertainers.
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