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Coney Island

John Wenger

American Art

John Wenger’s view of the amusements at Coney Island (painted his first year as a watercolorist) is extremely lively, owing primarily to the artist’s nervous line and the play of light and color patterns. Born outside of Odessa, Russia, Wenger immigrated to the United States in 1903 and by the twenties was established as a theatrical painter. In his work for the Ziegfeld Follies and the Metropolitan Opera, he honed his skills in designing scenes infused with a dramatic energy.
MEDIUM Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite on off-white, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper mounted to wood pulp paperboard (Whatman Drawing Board)
DATES 1931
DIMENSIONS 21 13/16 x 28 3/16 in. (55.4 x 71.6 cm) Frame: 28 x 36 x 1 1/2 in. (71.1 x 91.4 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS Marks on verso of board: "FACED WITH GENUINE HAND-MADE WHATMAN-'PERFECT' QUALITY EXTRA HARD SIZED. THE REGISTERED TRADE-MARK IS YOUR GUARANTEE"; "WHATMAN DRAWING BOARD"; TRADE SUPPLIED BY THE SOLE DISTRIBUTORS IN THE USA. H. REEVE ANGEL & CO. INC., NEW YORK CITY"; "Obtainable in Five Surfaces: -HP (HOT PRESSED) for Pen and ink, CP (COLD-PRESSED) and R (ROUGH) for WaterColor; also Special Surfaces Nos. 1 and 2 for Wash Drawings" Countermark on verso of board, top center edge: "J Whatman 1928"
SIGNATURE Signed and dated lower right, in black watercolor: "John Wenger / 1931"
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed verso, lower center, in blue ballpoint pen ink: "Coney Island / Painting in watercolor and tempera / by John Wenger / 1931" [uncertain whether this is in artist's hand]
CREDIT LINE Gift of the artist
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION John Wenger (American, born Russia, 1888–1976). Coney Island, 1931. Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite on off-white, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper mounted to wood pulp paperboard (Whatman Drawing Board), 21 13/16 x 28 3/16 in. (55.4 x 71.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the artist, 67.238. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 67.238_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 67.238_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RIGHTS STATEMENT © Estate of John Wenger
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