|American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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|Raised Barn, Cornwall, Oil on Masonite, 23 x 31, Signed,
Original Barnboard Frame
Curator's Comments: Sloane (1905-1985) was as American as his name, which took the
eric out of the center of the very name of our nation--as in America. His last name came
from reverence for his first great master, John Sloan, the colleague of Henri and Glackens.
His focus was as fundamental as his choice of name: He painted heaven and earth only.
Sloane sold one of his earliest paintings to Amelia Earhardt, the aviatrix, and ended his
career with the giant-size mural of the sky on the wall of the Smithsonian Air & Space
Museum. His other love was the farmland of New England and its barns, which he also
celebrated in painting after painting. And Sloane was the author of numerous books on
barns and their construction. His private collection of early American hand tools is now in
the Sloane Stanley Museum in Connecticut. Eric Sloane was born Everard Jean Hinrichs in
New York City on February 27, 1905. His interest in art developed from early friendship
with the famous type-face designer Frederic Gaudy, and Sloane was also connected to the
aviation pioneers flying out of Roosevelt Field, Long Island. After his first flight, Sloan fell
in love with he clouds that would become central to his work for the rest of his life.
Sloane, after a falling out with his family, ran away at age fourteen to become an itinerant
sign painter. He worked his way across America, painting signs on barns, buildings and
stores, all the time gathering images of a country in expansion. One of his most notable
stays was with the Taos Pueblo Indian Tribe, just north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. In Taos,
Sloane experienced life in a true artist's colony, working among painters such as Leon
Gaspard and the members of Taos Society of Artists. He added his own footnote to their
rich history by introducing them to his pioneer method of painting on masonite. Much later,
in 1975, Sloane built a home in La Tierra near Santa Fe, New Mexico, called "Las Nuves"
(The Clouds) where he continued to work and visit in his last years.
Sloane went onto study at the Art Students League in New York, where he met his mentor.
He also logged important time at Yale School of Fine and Applied Art in the early thirties.
Indeed, it was later, while living at the Yale Club in New York during the Depression that he
gave our painting to the owner of a nearby sandwich shop (delicatessen) to settle his bill. It
was then passed on in one family until our acquisition. By then Sloane had fallen in love with
the rural agrarian architecture of his beloved New England. Making the barn one of his two
central symbols, along with the clouds, which are present here too. As we see the barn, it
becomes a dark place of fruition in contrast to the powerful sky-god clouds. It is the realm of
Proserpine, even to its stored pumpkins and its curved entryway. Technically Sloane labeled
this style of construction in his An Age of Barns, a raised barn, and it is similar to an
illustration in that work. Below are the dark, close and warm horse stalls, places of passage.
The barn is a symbol of the human harvest, as is Sloane's masterful painting itself. We are
very proud to own it. We also want to point to the delicacy of the shadows in this work,
especially that cast by the adjoining trees on the barn itself, for an extremely floating
tracery effect. Also this early work escapes the formulaic. The skies retain the clouds that
later disappear into a uniform midnight blue, and the straw-grass front border has yet to
enter Sloane's oeuvre. Our image doesn't do this work justice--the shadow play is brilliant!.
IN THE ORIGINAL BARNBOARD FRAME
ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL
SLOANE BARNS WE'VE SEEN!
An Age of Barns