John Sloan Information and Inventory

John Sloan

(1871 - 1951)

John Sloan 


 Many artists strive to be closely associated with one particular genre, while others are cursed by it. John Sloan was “the New York City Painter” due to his central position within the Ash Can School or the “Eight.” These Philadelphia students of Robert Henri, trained by the rigors of newspaper illustration requirements, eventually gathered in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century. Their early exhibitions featuring the hustle, bustle and often gritty life of the city virtually established a new genre of painting. Gone were the high-key, broken-color brushwork and garden parties of the Impressionists, replaced by the urban reality of laundry lines, tenements, street vendors, and bars. As explosively successful as this era appears from today’s vantage point, John Sloan struggled, didn’t sell a painting until aged forty, was displeased with his development as an artist due to the crunching timetables of illustration commitments and by 1914 (even after the resounding success of the 1913 Armory Show) was physically, emotionally, and creatively exhausted. He sought refuge in Cape Ann, spending the next five summers in Gloucester and virtually turning himself and his art around. It is said he produced 300 paintings during this time period, exploring color and landscape compositions as he never had before. Sloan became intrigued by a unique and complex color theory known as the Maratta system, with which he experimented to such an extent that he claimed “No two [of his] paintings have the same color theme.”1 Sloan, like several of the modernists on Cape Ann, was attracted to the rugged, granite-strewn interior regions, called Dogtown, and painted numerous pure landscapes like this small but expertly painted scene. His whole palette lightened (and most likely his mood as well), and it is quite certain that in the end, Cape Ann did more for John Sloan’s art than his art did for Cape Ann.

John Sloan Gallery

No paintings by this author