Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street, New York City

John Sloan, American, 1871 - 1951

Geography:
Made in United States, North and Central America

Date:
1907

Medium:
Oil on canvas

Dimensions:
24 1/4 x 32 inches (61.6 x 81.3 cm) Framed: 35 1/4 x 41 1/4 x 2 1/4 inches (89.5 x 104.8 x 5.7 cm)

Copyright:
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Curatorial Department:
Modern and Contemporary Art

Object Location:

* Gallery 49, Modern and Contemporary Art, ground floor

Accession Number:
1964-116-5

Credit Line:
Gift of Meyer P. Potamkin and Vivian O. Potamkin, 2000

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Label:
This painting, which depicts an intoxicated woman crossing a street in a state of confusion and disarray, illustrates John Sloan’s compassionate, nonjudgmental approach to the squalor and misery he encountered in the Tenderloin district of Manhattan. The poor woman is framed by the dynamic elevated train and the commercial thoroughfare, which seem to heighten her sense of disorientation. Two young, fashionably dressed women jeer as they pass by, while the men on the corner look on with smug indifference. Sloan later commented that “this canvas has surely caught the atmosphere of the Tenderloin: drab, shabby, happy, sad, and human.”

Additional information:
  • PublicationMasterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art

    John Sloan's training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and his experience as an artist-reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer served him well when he moved to New York in 1904. The bustling streets and crowded tenements supplied him with stimulating new subject matter for his paintings, which typically presented gritty, unidealized images of working-class life in the modern city. This painting perfectly illustrates Sloan's compassionate, nonjudgmental approach to the squalor and misery he encountered in the Tenderloin district of Manhattan where he lived. The work focuses on an intoxicated woman as she crosses the road, pail of beer in hand, in a state of confusion and disarray. Two young, fashionably dressed women jeer at her as they pass by, while the men on the corner look on with smug indifference. The scene takes place under a gray sky and is framed by the dynamic elevated train on one side and the commercial thoroughfare on the other, which seem to close in on the poor woman and heighten her sense of disorientation. Sloan later commented that "this canvas has surely caught the atmosphere of the Tenderloin: drab, shabby, happy, sad, and human."1 Michael R. Taylor, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 198.

    Note:
    1) John Sloan, Gist of Art: Principles and Practise Expounded in the Classroom and Studio, Recorded with the Assistance of Helen Farr (New York: American Artists Group, 1939), p. 214.


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