Ancestral Spirits, 1919
John Sloan (American, 1871 - 1951)
oil on canvas, 24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm)
Gift of Dr. Edgar L. Hewett, 1920
John Sloan, born in Philadelphia, was a freelance artist, etcher, and illustrator for the Philadelphia Inquirer, taking evening classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He moved to NYC in 1904 where as a member of the Eight, he became a leading figure in the Ashcan School of realist artists known for their urban and genre painting and their ability to capture the essence of neighborhood life. He embraced the principles of socialism and often placed his artistic talents at the service of those beliefs. The European Modernist painters on view in the Armory Show of 1913 initiated a gradual move away from the urban themes, and his yearly visits to the Southwest inspired an interest in desert landscape and a new concentration on the rendering of form. In Santa Fe Sloan was at the center of a web of independent artists, writers, and philosophers with progressive attitudes who affected each other’s thinking and work.