|American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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|Artist Name: Eric Sloane
Artist Dates: 1905-1985
Painting Title: Raised Barn, Cornwall
Painting Date: Undated
Medium: Oil on Masonite Signature: Signed Lower Left
Provenance: Private Collection
Size Unframed: 23 x 31
Size Framed: 28 x 37
Frame Condition: Original Sloane Barn Bd
Artist Best Price: $60,000
Offered At: CALL
|Curator's Comments: Sloane 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. Many of those flyers insisted he paint the identifying marking on their planes. In exchange for teaching him to paint, Wiley Post himself, taught the young Hinrichs to fly. After his first flight, the young man 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 to them 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’s 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.
Sloane had by then 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.
While restoring a Connecticut farmhouse in the early 1950's, Sloane began to identify with the Early American settlers. He first moved to the Candlewood Lake area, then to Merryall, CT near New Milford, and in 1956, he moved to Warren, where he kept a home until 1985. At this time he discovered Noah Blake's diary, an original account of New England farm life in 1805. With Sloane's unique illustrations and commentary the diary became the framework for Sloane's most successful book, "Diary of an Early American Boy: Noah Blake 1805."In his seminal Americana masterpiece, "Spirits of '76," he published a famous distillation of his philosophy, which he called a Declaration of Self Dependence. John Sloan and Robert Henri would have loved this artistic preamble, a harbinger calling for a renewed concept of personal responsibility in our time. Shortly before the release of his last book, "Eighty," on his way to meet his wife for lunch, Eric Sloane died instantly of a heart attack in New York, on March 5th, 1985, on the steps of the Plaza Hotel. He is buried in Kent, Connecticut.
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