Greenwich Village from John Sloan’s rear window

After John Sloan and his wife left Philadelphia and relocated to New York City in 1904, the couple lived first in Chelsea and then in various places in Greenwich Village, where Sloan also took a studio at Sixth Avenue and Cornelia Street to create art that found “beauty in commonplace things and people,” as he once said, per the Whitney Museum.

From one of those Village apartments or out his studio window, Sloan had a view of the shared rear yards of his tenement neighbors on West Fourth Street. “Backyards, Greenwich Village,” from 1914, was born out of that view.

“Here, a private scene of two children building a snowman in a backyard, with a pair of cats and another child watching them from a window above, brings dignity and romance to lives that would otherwise go unnoticed,” states the Whitney.

It’s hardly the only Sloan painting that featured cats—this Ashcan School founder memorialized a few of the dozen cats living at McSorley’s Bar on East Seventh Street in “McSorley’s Cats,” from 1928.

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2 Responses to “Greenwich Village from John Sloan’s rear window”

  1. velovixen Says:

    I love the way Sloan used the hanging laundry to refract the light in what I assume was the way he saw it from his Village window.

    And there are the cats. You can’t depict old New York without the cats!

    Thank you for sharing the image–and alerting me to Sloan. I’ll check out more of his work.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I love your observations about the light. Sloan really knew how to use light to create the right feel and effect…I encourage you to check out more of his work. I’m a huge fan!

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