Glens Falls’ Hyde Collection To Present ‘Rooftops’ Art Exhibit Focusing On Artist John Sloan

Shout it from the rooftops: Starting on June 15 and running through September 15, The Hyde Collection will present a brand-new exhibit at the Wood Gallery, entitled From the Rooftops: John Sloan and the Art of a New Urban Space, an in-depth study of rooftops from artist John Sloan, who was one of the best known painters in the Ashcan School. Presented by the Palmer Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State University, the exhibit will feature more than two dozen of Sloan’s most iconic paintings, prints and drawings, as well as 30 other works by Ashcan contemporaries such as painters William Glackens and Charles Demuth; photographers Walter Rosenblum and Weegee; and printmakers Martin Lewis and Armin Landeck, among others.

The Ashcan School was a movement developed by artists in New York City as it transitioned into the 20th century, and focuses on creating “art for life’s sake, [rather than] art for art’s sake,” per movement leader Robert Henri. Ashcan School artists are known for challenging traditional American realism and impressionism, illuminating the darker side of New York. Before the rise in popularity of art by European masters such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso in the United States, the Ashcan School was the Big Apple’s version of “avant-garde,” stylistically similar to artists such as Francisco de Goya and Edgar Degas.

Sloan, one of the first Ashcan School painters, was particularly fascinated with rooftops, producing portraits of everyday life of lower- and working-class New Yorkers. His work is known for portraying the city in a gritty, realistic and, at times, voyeuristic way, as he observed life, at the time, on the rooftops of tenement buildings. “Sloan grew up in a working-class family and understood well the gritty desperation that so often comes with poverty,” said Jonathan Canning, director of curatorial affairs and programming at The Hyde Collection. “He also knew the beauty that even a moment of respite brings, so he was able to aptly capture quiet glimpses into such liberation.” His works are exhibited in museums nationwide, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art and Brooklyn Museum in NYC; the National Gallery of Art and Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the Detroit Institute of Arts; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Besides the new exhibit focusing on Sloan’s work, the Hyde will also present a lecture the day the exhibition opens at 2pm, given by Adam M. Thomas, Ph.D., curator of American Art at the Palmer and affiliate professor of art history at Pennsylvania State University. “Featuring Sloan’s masterful treatments of elevated urban environments in New York City alongside the work of important contemporaries, [the exhibition] offers the opportunity to consider afresh the legacy of the Ashcan School and the experience of a vital part of the city in the early decades of the last century,” Thomas says. (To RSVP to Thomas’ lecture, click here.)

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