JANE PETERSON (1876–1965)
Luna Park, about 1918
Gouache and charcoal on paper, 18 x 24 in.
EXHIBITED: Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York, March 19–April 13, 1968, Jane Peterson: Paintings, 1910–1920, no. 38 // Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut, and traveling, 2015–16, Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008, pp. 47, 49 plat2 22 illus. in color
RECORDED: J. Jonathan Joseph, Jane Peterson: An American Artist (Boston: Privately printed, 1981), p. 93 illus., as “Luna Park No. 2”
EX COLL.: the artist; to her estate, 1965; [Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York, 1968]; to private collection, and by descent, 1968 until the present
Peterson spent the final period of World War I in New York. She traveled about the city extensively and sketched a variety of city subjects, occasionally focusing on war-related subjects, such as Red Cross workers or patriotic parades along Fifth Avenue, but she more frequently chose to distance herself from the weight of the war by depicting the city’s happier diversions. Luna Park, probably painted during the war years, portrays the entrance to the famous Luna Park at Coney Island, Brooklyn. Located on Surf Avenue, Luna Park was the home for a recreation of “A Trip to the Moon,” a fanciful and wildly popular ride that Frederic Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy had created for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, in 1901. The ride featured a rocket ship called Luna, and it from this that the park took its name. Luna Park, the second amusement park on Coney Island, included any number of entertainments and rides—including The Dragon’s Gorge, Shoot-the-Chutes, and Witching Waves, among others—and it was a prime attraction for summertime thrill-seekers on Coney Island until it burned in 1944.
Luna Park is related to another gouache painting of the same title by Peterson, Luna Park (about 1918, Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee).