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John Sloan studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1892, first with Thomas Anshutz, and later with Robert Henri. Sloan's professional career as an artist began as an illustrator for Philadelphia newspapers, the Enquirer and the Press. Moving to New York in 1904, he continued working in commercial art until 1916 when he began a long association with the Art Students League as a teacher.
Influenced by Henri and his teachings on realism, a group of eight artists, including John Sloan, rebelled against the National Academy of Design by organizing their own independent exhibition in 1908. Named The Eight by the press, these artists were a strong force in promoting a bold and unromanticized form of realism. Street scenes were a natural subject for Sloan and the New York Realists. His New York images feature a capacity for rendering narrative, chronicling life in the form of visual anecdotes.
While Sloan's work is commonly associated with urban views, he became interested in other themes and locales, producing many landscapes of Gloucester, Massachusetts and Santa Fe as well as numerous figurative subjects which comprise a large part of his oeuvre. Sloan continued painting New York scenes until the late 1940s, but city subjects became less appealing to him and he produced fewer in later years.
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