John French Sloan (1871 - 1951)
Realist painter and printmaker John French Sloan was born in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania and moved to Philadelphia, where he sold his first etchings after teaching himself the technique. His formal training was limited by the demands of work as a freelance artist and newspaper artist. Sloan took classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Thomas Anschutz. At the urging of friends, he began painting and became one of “Eight”, a group of like-minded artists who formed the nucleus of the Ashcan School. At this time, he also began his long career as a book illustrator.
His series of ten etchings titled New York City Life aroused controversy because of the then-prevailing disdain for social realism, and Sloan found it difficult to sell his work. Several major exhibitions during the subsequent years engendered popularity for the work of Sloan and his friends. In 1912, he became the art editor of The Masses. During the First World War, Sloan summered at Gloucester, Massachusetts and in 1916 began teaching at the Art Students League, an affiliation that lasted until 1932 and was briefly revived from 1935 – 1938.
From 1920, Sloan summered in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he and his wife were active in local cultural and social activities. During these years, his painting style evolved toward Post-impressionism which, with its deliberate distortions of perspective, puzzled those who prized his earlier realistic style. In 1936 Sloan exhibited one hundred etchings at the Whitney Museum. In1937, the Whitney Museum exhibition New York Realists: 1900-1914 featured the early city scenes for which he was known and praised. John Sloan died at Hanover, New Hampshire.
Easter Eve, Washington Square
Etching and aquatint, 1926; edition of 60. Image size 7-7/8” x 9-3/4”; sheet size 12-5/8” x 15-7/8”. Very good. Strong impression on evenly and moderately toned sheet with minor staining well away from the image. Matted and framed using archival quality materials.
Frankie and Johnnie
Etching, 1928; edition of 100. Image size 7-13/16” x 4-7/8”; sheet size 12½” x 9-3/4”. Printed by Peter Platt (1859 - 1934), one of the leading printers of the era. Signed and dated in the plate; inscribed in the plate "Frankie and Johnnie from "HIM"; and signed in pencil by John Sloan in the lower margin. A superb impression of this most unusual image. Him is the title of a surrealist play by e.e. cummings, written in 1926 and staged in Greenwich Village by the Provincetown Players, where John Sloan undoubtedly saw it and was thus inspired to produce this depiction of Act II, scene 5 from the play in which actor Hemsley Williams and actress Goldye Steiner, who plays Frankie and carries a doll named Johnie (sic), are circled by eight silent characters wearing hoods while an invisible backstage chorus sings a version of the classic "Frankie and Johnny".
This etching is from the collection of Joel and John Weinstock of New Orleans. A graduate of Smith College, Joel Wise began her lifetime of art collecting in Paris when, instead of buying lingeré with the money given to her by her mother, she purchased a print by Georges Roualt. After her marriage to John Weinstock, the couple established Prints International, based in their Carrollton home, and helped establish many significant collections in New Orleans and beyond. The Weinstocks were also generous supporters of - and donated many works of art to - The New Orleans Museum of Art.
Archival mat, mount, and backer in a period solid brass frame.
Etching on wove paper, 1916; stated edition of 100. Image size 2-5/8" x 4-1/8"; sheet size 6¾" x 8". Printed and signed by Ernest Roth in the lower left corner of the sheet; Titled, signed, and annotated "12 proofs" by Sloan in the lower margin.
In his diary, Sloan commented "Adolescent affection expresses itself in slaps and kicks and general rough handling" In another entry, he notes "Young girls of fifteen and sixteen and a little younger stand on the corners with the boys Sunday evening - a sort of rough and ready love making goes on, something like the play of animals; a smack in the face expresses the warmest regard."
A fine impression, with slight adhesive residue above the plate mark recto and paper loss on upper portion of the sheet verso; both flaws are well away from the sight area.