John Sloan: Rooftops of New York

John Sloan, A Roof in Chelsea, New York, c. 1941­­/51, tempera underpaint with oil-varnish glaze and wax finish on composition board, 21 1/8 x 26 1/16 inches. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College

John Sloan (1871–1951) was preoccupied with the New York City rooftop, the setting of many of his celebrated works.  His paintings, prints and drawings are on exhibition through Sept. 15 in From the Rooftops, at the Hyde Collection in Glen Falls, N.Y.

Sunday, Women Drying Their Hair by John Sloan (1871–1951), 1912. Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts.

Sloan said:  “Work, play, love, sorrow, vanity, the schoolgirl, the old mother, the thief, the truant, the harlot. I see them all down there without disguise. These wonderful roofs of New York bring to me all of humanity.”

Red Kimono on the Roof by Sloan 1912. Indianapolis Museum of Art, James E. Roberts Fund.

The Melting Pot of early twentieth-century New York City lured hopeful immigrants to the burgeoning city, where many took to the tenements with the rest of the working class. The city’s poor began to find refuge on the rooftops from the claustrophobia, summer heat, and lack of fresh air in the city’s cramped sweat shops and apartments – exhibition notes.

Summer Electric Storm by Cecil Crosley Bell (1906–1970), 1938. Museum of the City of New York

About 30 other rooftop works by Sloan’s contemporaries are included in the exhibition, which examines the changing fabric of the city, and the leisure possibilities up high.

The exhibition was curated by the Palmer Museum of Art of  Pennsylvania State University.

Exhibition at The Hyde Collection, here.





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