This scene depicts a lively gathering of poets and artists at Petitpas', a French restaurant and boardinghouse in the Chelsea district of New York City. Shown from left to right around the table are literary critic Van Wyck Brooks; painter John Butler Yeats; poet Alan Seeger; the artist's wife, Dolly Sloan; Celestine Petipas (standing); fiction writer Robert Sneddon; miniature painter Eulabee Dix; John Sloan, the artist (corner); Fred King, the editor of Literary Digest; and, in the foreground, Vera Jelihovsky Johnston, wife of the Irish scholar Charles Johnston. Associated with the Ashcan School—a group of urban Realists who espoused the notion of "art for life's sake" instead of "art for art's sake"—John Sloan was well known for his scenes of everyday life. This lively representation of assembled artists and friends comes out of that context, as gatherings such as the one in the painting were common at the time. John Butler Yeats, Irish painter and father of poet William Butler Yeats, lived at Petipas' from 1909 until his death in 1922, and presided nightly at a table in the courtyard. By 1910, when Sloan began this painting, Yeats had become a significant mentor to the artist, especially in his detailed and methodical approach to portraiture. It is notable that Sloan chose to depict Yeats drawing a portrait rather than engaging in the lively conversation for which he was so well known. Sloan's rendering of his own likeness is also noteworthy as one of the most carefully executed and complete within the painting. These choices by Sloan invite a reading of this work as a tribute to the elder Yeats and his significant influence on Sloan.
The painting also functions as a commemoration of the year 1910 in general, a time of several professional accomplishments for Sloan, some of which were celebrated at this famed restaurant.
lower right: John Sloan
(C.W. Kraushaar Galleries, New York); purchased 1932 by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; acquired 2014 by the National Gallery of Art.
- Robert Henri, George Bellows, John Sloan, Arts Club of Chicago, November 1916.
- Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Etchings by John Sloan, C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, New York, 19 March - 7 April 1917, no. 8.
- 113th Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 3 February - 24 March 1918, no. 462.
- John Sloan, George Luks and Augustus Vincent Tack, City Club, New York, March-April 1921.
- 26th Annual International Exhibition of Paintings, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 13 October - 4 December 1927, no. 77.
- Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings, Etchings and Lithographs by John Sloan, C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, New York, 15 February - 5 March 1927, no. 4.
- The Twenty-sixth Annual International Exhibition of Paintings Organized by the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn Museum, 9 January - 19 February 1928, no. 77.
- John Sloan, Van Deering Perrine and Helen M. Turner, Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, October 1932.
- Thirteenth Exhibition of Contemporary American Oils, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 4 December 1932 - 15 January 1933, no. 133.
- A Survey of American Painting, Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 January - 28 February 1934, no. 54.
- New York Realists 1900-1914, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 9 February - 5 March 1937, no. 77.
- John Sloan: Retrospective Exhibition, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, 1938, no. 13.
- 20th Century Portraits, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 9 December 1942 - 24 January 1943, unnumbered checklist.
- Artists of the Philadelphia Press: William Glackens, George Luks, Everett Shinn, John Sloan, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 14 October - 18 November 1945, no. 58, repro.
- John Sloan, 1871-1951, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art, 1952, no. 26.
- Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, Walt Kuhn, John Sloan, Arts Club of Chicago, 8 May - 15 June 1956, no. 37.
- Portraiture: The 19th and 20th Centuries, Munson-Williams-Procter Institute, Utica; Baltimore Museum of Art; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 1957, no. 40.
- Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings from Previous Internationals, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 5 December 1958 - 8 February 1959, no. 43.
- The Art of John Sloan 1871-1951, Walker Art Museum, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, 20 January - 28 February 1962, no. 17.
- Past and Present: 250 Years of American Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 15 April - 30 September 1966, unpublished checklist.
- John Sloan: 1871-1951, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens; M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, 1971-1972, no. 71.
- Conservation in the Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 15 September - 22 October 1972, unpublished checklist.
- Corcoran [The American Genius], Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 24 January - 4 April 1976, no checklist.
- Japanese Artists Who Studied in the USA and the American Scene, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, 1982, no. 71.
- Henri's Circle, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 20 April - 16 June 1985, unnumbered checklist.
- John Sloan: Painter of the American Scene, Queens Museum, Flushing, 5 October - 17 November 1985, no. 3.
- Strokes of Genius, Dulin Gallery of Art, Knoxville, 30 March - 28 April 1985, no. 35.
- John Sloan: Spectator of Life, IBM Gallery of Science and Art, New York; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; Columbus Museum of Art; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, 1988, no. 51.
- Gaelic Gotham: A History of the Irish in New York, Museum of the City of New York, 13 March - 27 October 1996.
- The Forty-fifth Biennial: The Corcoran Collects, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 17 July - 29 September 1998, unnumbered checklist.
- The Impressionist Tradition in America, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 19 July 2003 - 18 October 2004, unpublished checklist.
- Figuratively Speaking: The Human Form in American Art, 1770-1950, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 20 November 2004 - 7 August 2005, unpublished checklist.
- Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New Yprl; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte; John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, 2005-2007, checklist no. 67.
- Life's Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists' Brush with Leisure, 1895-1925, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville; New-York Historical Society; Detroit Institute of Arts, 2007-2008, no. 11.
- American Paintings from the Collection, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 6 June - 18 October 2009, unpublished checklist.
- American Journeys: Visions of Place, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 21 September 2013 - 28 September 2014, unpublished checklist.
- Napolitano, Laura Groves. "John Sloan, Yeats at Petitpas'." In Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945. Edited by Sarah Cash. Washington, 2011: 200-201, 277, repro.