WINSTON SALEM, NC.-
The Reynolda House Museum of American Art
presents Seeing the City: Sloans New York, a traveling exhibition focusing on John Sloans images of New York City in paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs to present an in-depth view of the artists years in the city and the citys effect on his art. Far from glamorizing the emerging vertical vistas of sky-scrapers, Sloan focused instead on people, public spaces, street life, elevated trains, and the pedestrian experience. The Delaware Art Museum organized this exhibition, drawing on the abundance of material in its own art and archival collections supplemented by loans from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, The Phillips Collection, and various other public and private collections. Seeing the City will be on display at the Reynolda House through January 4, 2009.
By bringing together numerous images in all media from 1904 through the 1930s, Seeing the City is the first major traveling exhibition to focus on Sloans depictions of New York and the first since the 1970s to present significant new scholarship on the artist. This exhibition is also the first to isolate Sloans vision from that of his Ashcan School colleagues in order to explore his individual contribution. As Sloan moved through the vast and rapidly changing metropolis, he made sense of it by describingin his diaries, letters, and picturesthe streets, squares, gathering places, and city dwellers he encountered. He created a pedestrian aesthetic, helping to define New York City in the popular imagination and creating what one critic called the slang of the city.
Seeing the City maps Sloans New York, locating and explicating the subjects he pictured. The exhibition follows Sloan as he explores parks, streets, and rooftops, examining the personal and cultural meanings of the sites he chose to depict again and again. Through wall text, label copy, an interactive kiosk, a robust website, and a catalog, Seeing the City: Sloans New York looks at Sloan from new perspectives and hopefully will inspire new scholarship on the artist and his circle of friends.
From 1892 until 1904, John Sloan (1871-1951) worked as an artist at Philadelphia newspapers and contributed illustrations to magazines. In 1904, Sloan moved to New York City, determined to pursue a career as a painter. After the 1908 exhibition of The Eight, some of the groups artists were derogatorily called the Ashcan School for their depiction of the less savory areas of the city. Sloans paintings of New York centered on his favorite subject: the drab, shabby, happy, sad, and human life of a city and its people. While Sloan remains best known for the New York scenes he painted during his first 10 years there, he was also an able landscapist and portraitist, as well as a prolific printmaker.
Helen Farr Sloan
Helen Farr Sloan (1911-2005) first met John Sloan when she enrolled in the New York Art Students League. He became her lifelong friend and mentor, and they married in 1944. After John Sloans death, Helen Farr Sloan managed his estate and turned it into a philanthropic instrument to serve local, regional, national, and international arts constituencies. She first visited Wilmington, Delaware, in 1960 to help organize The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Exhibition of Independent Artists in 1910; the original show had been organized by her husband. Over the course of more than four decades, Mrs. Sloan donated thousands of paintings, prints, and drawings as well as manuscript materials to the Delaware Art Museum. This is the largest gift made to the Museum since the founding gifts of the Howard Pyle collection and the Pre-Raphaelite collection.