Seeing the City: Sloan’s New York

Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing Gallery

More than any other artist of the so-called Ashcan School, John Sloan set out to celebrate the lives of ordinary Americans.  He created a “pedestrian aesthetic” that, far from glamorizing the emerging vertical vistas of skyscrapers, focused instead on people, street life, elevated trains, and the pedestrian experience.  His images helped define the city in popular imagination.  Sloan moved to New York City in 1904, and he remained anchored there—painting, serving as art editor for The Masses, and teaching at the Art Students’ League—for the rest of his life.  The artist made sense of the vast and rapidly changing metropolis by moving through it and by describing—in his diaries, letters, drawings, and paintings—the streets, squares, gathering places and city dwellers he encountered.  By including paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs, the exhibition presents a nuanced view of the artist’s years in the city and the city’s effect on his art.  Seeing the City will be the first major traveling exhibition to focus on Sloan’s images of New York and the first since the 1970s to present significant new scholarship on the artist.

This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and received generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Helen Farr Sloan Trust. To learn more about this exhibition visit: