Overview

The City from Greenwich Village is a lyrical celebration of the vitality and excitement of life in lower Manhattan. Looking south over Sixth Avenue from the artist's Washington Place studio on a rainy winter evening, electric light merges with moonlight, casting an evocative golden glow over the city. At the far left, New York's skyscrapers seem to hover over the city like a shimmering celestial vision. Sloan's painting conveys a nostalgic, romanticized mood, one that contrasts strongly with the scenes of tenement life, teeming city streets, and desolate back alleys that he and fellow members of the "Ash Can School" had produced during the first decade of the century.

The artist's ambiguous reference to "moonshine" on the billboard in the left foreground both documents the city's commercialization and lends a poetic aura to the scene. This urban imagery may be seen as a precursor to American art of the 1960s, when Pop artists appropriated advertising motifs and Photo-realists immortalized the architectural richness of New York.

Inscription

lower left: John Sloan

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Estate of the artist;[1] gift 1970 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1922
Sixth Annual Exhibition of The Society of Independent Artists, Waldorf Astoria, New York, 1922, no. 701.
1922
Twenty-First Annual International Exhibition of Paintings, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1922, no. 108, as The City, from Greenwich.
1923
Baltimore Charcoal Club, 1923.
1924
Detroit Institute of Art, 1924, no. 30.
1925
Pan-American Exhibition, Los Angeles Museum, 1925.
1925
The Thirty-Eighth Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago, 1925, no. 200, as New York from Greenwich Village.
1926
Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1926, no. 280.
1926
The Tenth Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Oil Paintings, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1926, no. 259, as The City from Greenwich.
1934
John Sloan, Montross Gallery, New York, 1934, no. 14.
1938
John Sloan: Retrospective Exhibition, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, 1938, no. 18, repro.
1939
46th Annual Exhibition, Nebraska Art Association, Lincoln, 1939, no. 39.
1939
The Forty-Sixth Annual Exhibition of American Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, 1939.
1940
John Sloan, Art Department, University of Missouri, Columbia, 1940.
1940
Oil Paintings by John Sloan, Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire, 1940.
1941
Development of an American Style, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1941.
1941
Fort Worth Art Association, 1941.
1943
Living American Painters, John Herron Art Museum, Indianapolis, 1943, no. 53.
1943
Romantic Painting in America, travelling exhibition organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1943-1945, no. 184, repro.
1945
Artists of the Press, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1945, no. 63.
1946
John Sloan: Painting and Prints. Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Retrospective, Carpenter Galleries, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1946, no. 12.
1948
John Sloan Paintings, Dayton Art Institute, 1948.
1948
John Sloan: Retrospective Exhibition, Kraushaar Galleries, New York, no. 20, repro.
1949
The Turn of the Century: American Artists 1890-1920, Des Moines Art Center, 1949, unnumbered catalogue.
1952
John Sloan 1871-1951, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, 1952, no. 52, repro.
1961
Oil Paintings by John Sloan, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, November-December 1961, no. 7.
1961
The Life and Times of John Sloan, Delaware Art Center, Wilmington, 1961, no. 29, repro.
1962
The Art of John Sloan 1871-1951, Walker Art Museum, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, 1962, no. 46, repro.
1971
John Sloan 1871-1951, Natl. Gal. of Art, Washington, D.C.; Georgia Mus. of Art, Athens; M.H. DeYoung Mem. Mus., San Francisco; City Art Mus. of St. Louis; Columbus Gal. of Fine Arts, Ohio; Penn. Acad. of the Fine Arts, Phil., 1971-1972, no. 135, repro.
1981
John Sloan: Paintings, Prints, Drawings,travelling exhibition organized by Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, 6 venues, 1981-1983, no. 13, repro. (shown only in Hanover).
1981
The Railroad in the American Landscape: 1850-1950, Wellesley College Museum, Wellesley, Massachusetts, 1981, no. 53, repro.
1982
Japanese Artists Who Studied in U.S.A. and The American Scene, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, 1982, no. 78, color repro.
1984
Museo de los Museos: arte universal a través de los tiempos, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, 1984, no. 42, repro.
1985
Night Lights: 19th and 20th Century American Nocturne Paintings, The Taft Museum, Cincinnati, 1985, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
1988
John Sloan: Spectator of Life, IBM Gallery of Science and Art, New York; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, 1988, no. 97, repro.
2007
Seeing the City: Sloan's New York, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania; David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago; Reynolda House, Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, 2007-2009, unnumbered catalogue, fig. 52.

Bibliography

1972
Scott, David W. "The City from Greenwich Village." Studies in the History of Art v.4 (1971-72):106-119, repro.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 223, repro.
1980
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980: 17, no. 55, color repro.
1981
Williams 1981, 209. repro. 210-11, color repro. 224.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 572, no. 876, color repro.
1988
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Rev. ed. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988: 170, no. 62, color repro.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 337, repro.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 250, repro.
1993
Dougherty, James. Walt Whitman and the Citizen's Eye. Baton Rouge, 1993: 264-266, repro. 265.
1998
Lamia, Stephen. “Night." In Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art. Edited by Helene E. Roberts. 2 vols. Chicago, 1998: 2:657.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 404, no. 334, color repro.

Technical Summary

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