John Sloan

John Sloan

John Sloan

John Sloan

Excerpt

In the opening years of this century American art was dominated by an academic idealism which ignored the realities of American life. Our artists shunned the crude American scene; in their work there was no hint of our gigantic material growth, the great flood of immigration, the growing social conflicts, or the life of the great mass of people. The city was pictured seldom, and then it was Fifth Avenue only. Their chief concern was with sunlight and atmosphere, the skillful representation of visual appearances, and the cult of the slashing brush.

This genteel interlude was broken at the turn of the century by a group of realistic painters, Robert Henri, George Luks, William Glackens, John Sloan and Everett Shinn, all Philadelphians, all students of the Pennsylvania Academy, and all except Henri originally newspaper artists. These men turned to the life around them, that of the modern city, and painted it with honesty, humor and love. Under Henri's leadership they fought for artistic independence, the artist's right to say what he thought and to get his work before the public. In doing so they effected a revolution from which all American art since their day has benefited.

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