John Sloan (1871-1951)
Red Kimono on the Roof, 1912oil on canvas, 24 x 20 in.
This unglorified view of a woman, a clothespin in her mouth, hanging up her laundry on the roof of a building is one of Sloan's classic pictures, painted at the height of his career. He may have painted it from the window of his studio, which would explain the elevated vantage point. The picture's sense of immediacy and of a directly observed scene is enhanced by the spontaneous brushwork and the attention to light and shadow.
Sloan was a Philadelphia newspaper illustrator when he joined several journalist colleagues in an artists' group called The Eight, led by the painter Robert Henri. Sloan and four others in the group became known for their realistic paintings of life in New York's bustling Lower East Side, which they executed with broad, vigorous strokes and a conscious avoidance of sentimentality. Sloan and other urban realists later became known as the Ashcan School.