Looking at John’s Sloan’s foreboding “Spring Rain” makes me feel as if I’m right behind this woman as she walks the slick pavement of an almost empty city park.
That’s exactly the point. “In his 1912 painting Spring Rain, he placed the viewer on a wet path in Union Square by filling the lower edge of the picture—the front edge of the picture plane—with rain-soaked pavement,” writes Nancy Mowll Mathews in Moving Pictures.
“Then Sloan moved the journey diagonally up through the painting as the path recedes into the space of the park. We too seem to be standing on the walkway watching the back of a young lady as she moves though the park. Through the artist’s hand the viewer experiences what it is like to cross the empty park in the mist of a spring rain.”
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