John Sloan

1871 - 1951

American (Lock Haven, Pennsylvania - Hanover, New Hampshire)

John Sloan was an American printmaker and painter whose artworks feature vignettes of urban life in gritty New York tenements. Look closely at these small etchings and notice how much action is packed into the tiny urban scenes. Police Patrol, for example, shows multiple men and women hanging on the back of a police car during what appears to be the dead of night in the city. It is interesting to ponder where this rowdy group is going on the back of the police car. Sloan, who worked and lived in New York for most of his career, challenged the conventions of art by focusing on urban genre scenes of different classes of society. As one of the members of the Ashcan School, he worked to challenge the American Impressionists and Academics, whose art was more formal and more popular with audiences of the time. The “Ashcan School” was a derogatory name coined by conservative art critics who joked that this group of artists could find inspiration in the lowliest of places – even in ashcans. These four Sloan etchings give a glimpse into Sloan’s world and highlight his interest in portraying city life.


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