Feb 8–Mar 7, 1942

John SloanContemporary Work in Painting, 1928–1940

From exhibition brochure by John Sloan:

I thoroughly believe in the importance of my work in the last ten years, a representative group of which I have selected for the Renaissance Society Exhibition.

In attempting to trace some underlying relationship between my motives, past and present, I conclude that the fact that the old pictures of city life were painted from memory furnished the communicating link. In painting from memory one paints from the thing itself and is not making a visual record. The sense of reality is a mental product which may be carried in the memory and furnishes all necessary creative impulse. The work of the last ten years has been done with this as a conscious urge, whether done in the presence of the subject matter or from memory. My present credo, which I believe might produce thousands of varying results in the hands of thousands of various minds, is briefly, first, the eyes see only color; second, form, light, and shade are mental deductions based on experience. No scientific or clever or sensitive or plodding record of the visual produces a work of real aesthetic import. Shape must therefore be conveyed by some means apart from, and augmented by, color

I call the above my mental technique and I believe it to be in line with tradition and in accord with the most ultra-modern expositions.

John Sloan was born in 1871 at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. He studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy under Thomas Anschutz. After working in Philadelphia for several years as staff artist for the Press and the Inquirer, he moved to New York. There he did illustrations for Harper’s, Scribner’s, and other magazines, and became associated in exhibitions with the group known as “The Eight,” which included Glackens, Henri, Davies, Prendergast, Shinn, Lawson, and Luks. Out of their second exhibition grew the Society of Independent Artists, of which Sloan was later president. From 1914 until 1930 he was an instructor at the Art Students League of New York, and after a short period as instructor at the George Luks Art School, resumed his position at the Art Students League. Since 1919 he has divided his time between New York and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This was John Sloan’s first one-man exhibition in Chicago.

This show is part of the series A Year of American Art.

The show travelled to the Denver Art Museum.