American realist painter John Sloan (18711951) is best known for his images of New York during the early 20th century and as one of the pioneers of the Ashcan School. The Delaware Art Museum
holds the largest and most extensive collection of Sloans art and archival materials in the world. An American Journey: The Art of John Sloan, on view through January 28, 2018, is the first comprehensive retrospective of Sloans work since the Delaware Art Museums 1988 show John Sloan: Spectator of Life.
An American Journey: The Art of John Sloan, organized by Dr. Heather Campbell Coyle, the Delaware Art Museums chief curator and curator of American Art, presents the entire arc of Sloans careerfrom newspaper illustration in Philadelphia during the 1890s through his late paintings in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The exhibition includes nearly 100 worksdrawings, prints, and paintingsproduced between 1890 and 1946 and includes paintings that have not been seen in decades, some not since Sloans 1951 death. This retrospective also draws on the Museums rich archival materials, including illustrated letters and photographs.
The first full retrospective of John Sloans work in nearly 30 years, this is a show that only the Delaware Art Museum is in a position to present, explains Delaware Art Museums Executive Director and CEO Sam Sweet. The broad range of works on viewdrawn from the Museums own collectiontell the story of an important time in the history of American art. The exhibition will shed new light on the artists longstanding legacy, the Ashcan School, and a moment in New York City life.
An American Journey explores all facets of the artists long and prolific career: his student work at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; illustrations for Philadelphia newspapers and national magazines; depictions of New York City life; paintings of Gloucester, MA; his nudes and portraits; and studies of Santa Fe.
The Delaware Art Museum has the most expansive collection of paintings, drawings, etchings, and illustrations made by Sloan, as well as his personal papers. This retrospective will draw on these materials to present an unprecedented look at Sloans long career. In particular, this project showcases the artists early years in Philadelphia, his figure paintings, and his work as an illustrator, says Dr. Coyle.
The Museums major New York paintingsThrobbing Fountain, Night (1908), Wet Night on the Bowery (1911), Spring Rain (1912), and Wet Night, Washington Square (1928) are being featured in the retrospective, as is his masterful New York City life etchings.
An American Journey: The Art of John Sloan includes illustrations from throughout Sloans careerranging from the Art Nouveau elegance of his work in the 1890s, through his charming and challenging visual puzzles, and his biting political cartoons. These will be seen with major paintings and etchings to highlight how the artist worked out ideas across media and over years, explains Coyle.
Thanks to the generosity of the artists wife, Helen Farr Sloan (19112005), the Delaware Art Museum is home to the largest collection of art by Sloan, as well as the John Sloan Manuscript Collection, a treasure trove of photographs, letters, diaries, clippings, and tear sheets. These rich holdings, documenting Sloans life and work, provide the unique focus of this exhibition.