flat beach with men, women and children in full dress, one man in center with camera on a tripod; landscape; water; people; costume/uniform; leisure/recreation
"Beach Scene" depicts Coney island when it was a fashionable and popular resort in the late 19th century. Several details in Carr's composition hint at the growing commercialism of this site: the photographer taking a family portrait, the man giving donkey rides and the Punch and Judy show. Carr, however, omits the beach signs that were then common, including advertisements for hotels, saloons, acrobatic shows, shooting galleries, and hot dogs.
Originally from England and trained at the Royal School of Design in Chester, Carr settled in Brooklyn in 1863 and is primarily known for his genre scenes of Coney Island and Brooklyn parks. As was his practice, a number of figures in "The Beach Scene" are repeated in other paintings.
The jewel-like color accents and complex placement of figure groups make this one of Carr's most successful paintings.