August 2, 2017
John French Sloan (1871-1951), My Nephew, c.1930, oil on canvas, 20 1/4 x 16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Donald C. Dean and Robert E. Peay, 1974.
Distinguished American artist, John French Sloan, was born on the second of August, 1871. One of the key figures of the Ashcan School and the American realism movement, Sloan was known for painting realistic yet beautiful depictions of everyday life. This and his socialist-leaning politics led many to assume that Sloan, rather than just depicting scenes of everyday life, was making propaganda to be ‘socially conscious’—an assumption he vehemently denied.
Although originally from Pennsylvania, Sloan spent the majority of his career in New York City, and he was a member of the group known as “The Eight.” Sloan’s artistic financial success was slow in starting, and just as the American public began to love his work, Sloan changed his stylistic techniques and began to paint nudes and portraits in more avant-garde styles. Although passionate and evasive with the art world in his time, Sloan’s artworks are now considered essential American masterpieces and can be found in most major American museums.
The Nephew is not one of Sloan’s famous Ashcan works, but still contains the glowing beauty and color palette typical of his work. Painted in 1930, this work was part of Sloan’s switch of styles in his later career, during which he painted many portraits.