John French Sloan (1871 - 1951)
Kathleen Whalen, 1916
Oil on canvas
26 x 32 inches
Signed at lower left:: John Sloan
Dated '"1916" and inscribed "Katharine [sic] Whalen" (along the upper tacking edge)
Born in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, John Sloan went on to become one of the major early 20th century artists working in New York, pioneering the Social Realist movement with Robert Henri and his circle.
Sloan moved with his family to Philadelphia where he became a close friend of William Glackens. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with Thomas Anshutz, and there he met Robert Henri. He began renting Henri's studio at 806 Walnut Street, which became a meeting place of other young newspaper illustrators including Glackens, George Luks, and Everett Shinn. These artists along with Sloan and Henri became known as the "Philadelphia Five."
In 1904, he moved to New York and became part of Henri's circle of urban realists. He was known to walk the streets of New York in search of subject matter, especially exploring Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side.
He taught at the Art Students League from 1914 to 1926 and from 1935 to 1937. His students included Reginald Marsh, Raphael Soyer, and Alexander Calder.
He exhibited as one of "The Eight" in 1908 at the Macbeth Gallery in New York. In 1913, he was greatly influenced by the Armory Show exhibition of modernist painting, particularly the Post-Impressionist, Fauve, and Cubist works. After 1913 he began experimenting with more radical painting styles.
Influenced by his friend Henri, who had spent the summers of 1916 and 1917 in New Mexico, Sloan first visited Santa Fe in 1919. In 1920, Sloan purchased a home in Santa Fe and through 1950, spent four months of every year, except one, in the Southwest. He served as President of the Exposition of Indian Tribal Arts in the 1930s and lobbied the Society of Independent Artists to include work by Native Americans in their exhibitions.
After the death of his first wife Dolly in 1943, Sloan married Helen Farr, who had been one of his students, the following year. After his death in 1951, she devoted herself to turning his estate into a philanthropic instrument. The largest benefactor was the Delaware Art Museum, which received more than 5000 works.