John French Sloan USA
8-2-1871 Lock Haven, USA - 9-7-1951 Hanover, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
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In 1892, John French Sloan began working as an illustrator in the art department of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Later that same year, Sloan began taking evening classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under the guidance of the realist Thomas Anshutz.
In 1892, John French Sloan met Robert Henri, a talented painter and charismatic advocate of artistic independence who became his mentor and closest friend. Henri encouraged Sloan in his graphic work and eventually convinced him to turn to painting. They shared a common artistic outlook and in the coming years promoted a new form of realism, known as the "Ashcan school" of American art.
Towards the end of 1895, Sloan decided to leave The Philadelphia Inquirer to work in the art department of The Philadelphia Press. His schedule was now less rigid, allowing him more time to paint. Henri offered encouragement and often sent John French Sloan reproductions of European artists, such as Manet, Hals, Goya and Velázquez.
By 1903, John French Sloan had produced almost sixty oil paintings but had yet to establish a name for himself in the art world. In April 1904, he and Dolly moved to New York City and found quarters in Greenwich Village where he painted some of his best-known works, including McSorley's Bar, Sixth Avenue Elevated at Third Street, and Wake of the Ferry. He became increasingly prolific, but he sold little, and he continued rely on his earnings as a freelancer for The Philadelphia Press.
In 1913, Sloan participated in the legendary Armory Show. In that same year, the important collector Albert C. Barnes purchased one of Sloan's paintings; this was only the fourth sale of a painting for Sloan. Beginning in 1914, Sloan taught at the Art Students League, where for the next eighteen years he became a charismatic if eccentric teacher.
The summer of 1918 was the last he spent in Gloucester. For the next thirty years, he spent four months each summer in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the desert landscape inspired a new concentration on the rendering of form.
As someone who painted city crowds and tenement rooms, shop girls and streetwalkers, charwomen and hairdressers, John French Sloan is one of the artists most closely identified with the Ashcan School.
John French Sloan tended to observe city dwellers interacting in an intimate setting. Like Edward Hopper, Sloan often used the perspective of the window in his painting, in order to gain a tight focus, but also to observe his subject undetected.
In the late 1920s, just as the market for his city pictures was finally reaching a point at which he might have made a comfortable living, John French Sloan changed his technique and abandoned his characteristic urban subject matter in favor of nudes and portraits. This independence was entirely typical of him, to the dismay of his dealer, Charles Kraushaar.
Art Movement: Ashcan School
Influences: Thomas Anshutz, Robert Henri
Influenced: Peggy Bacon, Aaron Bohrod, Alexander Calder, Reginald Marsh, Barnett Newman, Norman Raeben