Long Branch – A new exhibit is now open at the Long Branch Arts and Cultural Center from now until March 25th. “Lure of the Beach at Long Branch” highlights the golden age of Long Branch in the late 19th century.
The show exudes nostalgia for a Jersey Shore era that is long gone but, nonetheless, reminds us that the beach that attracted tourists to Long Branch in the past still enchants today. Long Branch was once the Summer resort capital in the nation.
“Lure of the Beach at Long Branch” will run through March as a prelude to an exhibit in April in honor of the 200th birthday of Ulysses Grant, the first of the presidents who summered in Long Branch.
Viewing hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 8:30am-4:30pm. There is no fee.
The Long Branch beach in the late 19th century attracted tourists to bathe and socialize or simply stroll along the bluff in front of the oceanfront hotels. Newspapers after the Civil War, such as “Harper’s Weekly” and Frank Leslie’s “Illustrated News”, included scenes by artists like Winslow Homer and Thomas Nast, which promoted the good life in Long Branch during the Gilded Age.
The exhibit includes illustrations between the windows of the Arts & Cultural Center highlighting Long Branch as the summer capitol because of the seven presidents who summered there.
One wall shows the influence of French artists on American artists who depicted Long Branch. The French Impressionist movement began on the coast of Normandy at the same time that Long Branch was America’s foremost seashore resort.
Three prints by Winslow Homer are showcased on the wall next to the safe in the center’s former bank building. The most famous, titled “The Beach at Long Branch”, by Winslow Homer, featured the artist formally dressed in a top hat, while his girlfriend, whom he met in Long Branch, draws his initials in the sand.
This one-of-a-kind exhibit is not one to miss.