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John Sloan

Post #1101 • December 14, 2007, 10:09 PM • 23 Comments

Well, that was unmitigated agony. After accidentally deleting the article, then rewriting it from memory, I decided to redesign the viewer. Did you know that in XSLT, $page - 1 subtracts one from $page, while $page-1 is a valid variable name? Judas priest.

Anyway, here's John Sloan at the Delaware Art Museum.

A variable. I can't get over it.

Comment

1.

opie

December 15, 2007, 7:41 AM

No, I didn't know that about XLST. I am wildly overjoyed that you let us in on it.

When I read your sequence ot pictures and commentary on Sloan I wondered who in hell the Delaware Museum had hired to do something so new and fresh and so uncharacteristic of the usual flat, dry, schoolroom exhibit explication. I was almost disappointed to learn at the end that you had done it. I thought there was some up-and-coming museum star on the horizon.

2.

Fred

December 15, 2007, 7:57 AM

You have a typo on page 7:

"Both go a long way toward distinguishing Sloan from his Aschan School colleagues"

3.

Franklin

December 15, 2007, 8:09 AM

You'll need to help me out, Fred - I'm not seeing it. (Overexposure, no doubt.)

4.

opie

December 15, 2007, 8:13 AM

ASHCHAN, Franklin. I had to read it 3 times to see it. Fred must be a hell of a copyreadyer.

“ New York City, January 23, 1917. John Sloan, Marcel Duchamp, and a host of creative types and oddballs stand atop the Washington Square Arch. They release balloons amidst whoops of joy and proclaim independence for the Greenwich Republic.”

Those were the days. The ashcanners and the dadaists proclaiming their freedom together. 3 months later Duchamp would make his abortive attempt to exhibit "Fountain" at the first exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists. It was rejected at least partly because of the influence of another ashcan artist: George Bellows.

Of course when it comes to the history of the cursed pisspot one don't know what's true, fer sure.

5.

catfish

December 15, 2007, 8:36 AM

It isn't so much the pisspot that is cursed, instead, it IS the curse.

6.

Franklin

December 15, 2007, 9:11 AM

I knew it was something right in front of me like that. Thanks all.

7.

ahab

December 15, 2007, 9:22 AM

C'mon, opie - get your misspelling correct.

I only fully liked two of the Sloan paintings in the publication. The first and the last. In every other one there is some visual glitch (a variable, if you will) that wrecks the remainder of an otherwise attractive and accomplished piece. Like the lipstick on one of the ladies window shopping. But true, the blacks are convincing throughout, and the dark right hand midground side of that same painting is very very good.

8.

Jack

December 15, 2007, 10:39 AM

Very nice job, Franklin, but there are two more typos: p. 10 should read "adequate" in the last line; p. 16 should read "seize" in the penultimate line. Remember, I have typophobia, so I'm grateful someone else caught "Ashan" before I did; I might not have coped too well.

I like Sloan, but he was no Bellows. His reach exceeded his grasp, especially when it came to color (blacks excepted). I tend to prefer his graphic work. But the paintings are honest or genuine enough, and they have a certain naive enthusiasm or child-like confidence that can be disarming, if not wholly convincing.

9.

Eric

December 15, 2007, 11:30 AM

When my slow ass laptop was finally able to make it all the way through your slideshow I thought to myself, "enjoyable slide show Franklin." I am glad you mentioned what an important chronicler Sloan was in the first sentence of your summation. All of us interested in visual culture should feel indebted to the entire Ashcan School (for lack of a better phrase) because of how much of the history of architecture and interior design, public and private living spaces, human relationships, psychological apsects of everyday life, and the phenemona of group events, they have provided for current and future generations (that is if the freaking images are still available in some format to the public in the near and far future.

10.

opie

December 15, 2007, 11:43 AM

Interesting - I like these pictures more than you guys do.

11.

Eric

December 15, 2007, 11:49 AM

I was being so self consciousness about catching misspellings that I missed a major grammatical error. F-ck!

"All of us interested in visual culture should feel indebted to the entire Ashcan School (for lack of a better phrase) because of how much of the history of architecture and interior design, public and private living spaces, human relationships, psychological apsects of everyday life, and the phenemona of group events, they have provided for current and future generations (that is if the freaking images are still available to the public in some format in the near and far future."

That is how that sentence should read. If I am still wrong please let me know.

12.

Franklin

December 15, 2007, 1:38 PM

More typos fixed. Thanks for keeping an eye out - since I'm the publisher, you guys are the editors.

13.

catfish

December 15, 2007, 1:46 PM

I agree opie - they are very good pictures, in the ball park with Hopper.

14.

Eric

December 15, 2007, 2:32 PM

Bellow's "The Lone Tenement" from 1909 is better than any painting done by those other talented folks.

15.

opie

December 15, 2007, 3:40 PM

They all had that sticky brushwork I don't care for, Eric, but I would take the Spring Rain or Jefferson Market painting before the Bellows pic. And the Kimono and 3 AM are nice too. In fact the only one I don't care for is the Rainbow.

16.

Eric

December 15, 2007, 3:46 PM

I am into sticky opie. I guess I made the overblown statement because when I saw The Lone Tenement in Washington many years ago it inspired me to do drawings of the urban landscape for years afterwards. I only know the careers of Hopper and Guston very well and can't say tat I know much about Bellows or Sloan. Eakins, Ryder, Cole, and Davis are my favorite American painters.

17.

opie

December 15, 2007, 3:54 PM

There arre so many good ones. Take a look at Alfred Bricher & Theodore Robinson. Also Twachtman.

18.

Franklin

December 15, 2007, 3:58 PM

Or Prendergast. I think Prendergast is hugely underrated. He did these wonderful paintings on carved plaster that I had never seen until I went to the Barnes.

19.

Eric

December 15, 2007, 5:06 PM

Sorry but I can't help namedroping here. I love Macdonald-Wright, Dove, Prendergast, Eakins, Sheeler, Marin, Walkowitz, Hartley, Weber, Covert, and Murphy. I remember standing in front of the last Predergast that I saw in person. It was a meaningful and complex still life. I admired a lot of things about it. I am a hopeless devotee of Cezanne so of course I enjoyed imagining connections between the two artists. I'm off to finish a computer comic.

20.

Eric

December 15, 2007, 5:09 PM

Aiieeee! It is Prendergast not Predergast. Ugh. Also I forgot to mention Patrick Henry Bruce. Great stuff.

21.

opie

December 15, 2007, 6:25 PM

Eric, don't worry about non-misleading typos. We all make them, or I do, at least. Nobody cares. Except Fred, I suppose.

22.

Jack

December 15, 2007, 9:56 PM

I have not seen any of these paintings in person, so I am judging based on the reproductions, which may or may not be sufficiently faithful to the real thing. Assuming they are, I admire what Sloan was attempting or trying more than what he actually accomplished, particularly color-wise, though the work is eminently respectable.

I think that, generally speaking, the brighter and louder he gets the worse it goes, and vice versa. I can still appreciate the straightforwardness nonetheless, but "Wet Night" and "Picture Shop Window" work a good deal better for me than "Jefferson Market," "Spring Rain" or "Rainbow."

"The City from Greenwich Village" has a queasy combination of saccharine and acrid color, though again, the overall attempt is interesting. "Red Kimono" is very good in almost everything but the central element, the figure. The clothes basket and the laundry on the line are excellent, but the woman looks like crude Renoir. The red is energizing, but a little facile or trick-like.

"Three AM" is too theatrical in its luridness, and he overdoes the "painted woman" bit so that the prostitutes (especially the seated one) look cartoonish. Daumier comes to mind, but the comparison is hardly to Sloan's advantage.

In a way, these pictures strike me as a little candied, if that makes any sense; a little sticky or gooey. Bellows is more bracing and more painterly, made of sterner and more solid stuff--more "Spanish," I suppose.

23.

eddie

December 17, 2007, 8:15 AM

Pffft! A variable?! That's anarchy I say.

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