Frederick Brosen

Artist whose watercolors of the Astroland Rocket and Wonder Wheel sign are emblematic of Coney Island

Watercolor artist Frederick Brosen is a native New Yorker whose boyhood memories include Steeplechase's revolving barrel at the park's entrance, wooden slide, and horse race ride.  As a father, he rediscovered the joy of Coney Island through a friend on trips to Astroland with his kids. He talks about what drew him to paint Coney Island in 2007-2008 and subsequently go back to paint some of his favorite places again and again. "Certain things become emblematic of a place. I've done maybe 7 or 8 versions of the Wonder Wheel sign already," says Brosen. "And I'm planning another one, I found another view, another way of integrating it. It's a completely different painting but it has the same feeling for me."

In addition to the Wonder Wheel Thrills sign, Frederick Brosen has painted such classic Coney Island attractions as Grandma's Predictions, the Cyclone, the Zipper, the Astroland Rocket atop Gregory & Paul's, Burger Boy atop Paul's Daughter, Nathan's Famous and Pete's Clam Stop.  "It's great if a place has a living history, not a museum history but a living history. Coney Island has been a place like that," he says.

His paintings Astroland and Fortune Teller, Jones Walk, Coney Island were part of the exhibition Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, which traveled to the Brooklyn Museum and museums around the country in 2015-2016. Frederick Brosen: Recent Watercolor Paintings, featuring watercolors of Coney Island as well as the Upper West Side and SoHo, is on view at Hirschl & Adler Modern from February 6 – March 6, 2020.