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John Sloan
McSorley’s Bar
Oil on canvas

26 x 32 inches
Founders Society Purchase, General Membership Fund

Detroit Institute of Arts


Life’s Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists’ Brush With Leisure, 1895–1925
Detroit Institute of Arts
March 2, 2008 - May 25, 2008

This exhibition brings together paintings depicting vibrant and diverse leisure activities experienced and observed by members of the Ashcan school. The Ashcan school artists, often associated with Robert Henri’s circle of artists, showed the lower levels of the socio-economic scale who lived and toiled in turn of the century New York. Henri encouraged his followers to capture the world as they found it, to absorb “the great ideas native to his country.” Among the subjects they addressed were the multitude of leisure activities available to the people of varied social strata. Organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Life’s Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists’ Brush With Leisure, 1895–1925
New-York Historical Society
November 28, 2007 - February 10, 2008

The New-York Historical Society will host Life’s Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists’ Brush With Leisure, 1895–1925, an exhibition of about 80 paintings organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts. "Ashcan School" is the broad term, coined in the 1930s, still used today to refer to a vibrant group of New York-based realist painters. These include the famous early 20th century group of The Eight, as well as their wider circle and later followers. These painters, unofficially led by Robert Henri, depicted the changing social and political environment of their times. An expressive and cosmopolitan group of painters, the Ashcan artists embraced a credo to paint what they saw around them recording these images with quick brush strokes, saturated pallets and heavy impasto.

Life’s Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists’ Brush With Leisure, 1895–1925 will include paintings by Robert Henri, John Sloan, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, George Luks and George Bellows as well as Jerome Myers, Guy Pene du Bois, Walt Kuhn, Edward Hoppe and Rockwell Kent. This exhibition and its accompanying catalogue will focus upon these artists fascination with the varied forms of leisure and recreation available to working and middle class audiences from the turn of the century through the 1920s. Their paintings recorded the dress and behavior, as well as the settings, of the modern world at play: cafes, theaters, arenas, bars, beaches and parks. While their images were often of the lower socio-economic class, the exhibition will also explore representations of urban middle class life, as both groups enjoyed both traditional and novel leisure pursuits whether in New York or Paris.

Photo ©2015, Detroit Institute of Arts


Additional Information

John Sloan: Selected Biographies on Art in Context

John Sloan: Related Links on Art in Context


John Sloan, American, (1871-1951)
b. August 2, 1871, Lock Haven, PA
d. 1951

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