barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

John Sloan (1871 – 1951)

Turning Out the Light (New York City Life Series)

New York, 1905


Plate: 12.5 x 17.3 cm; Sheet: 24.4 x 29.8 cm 


From his apartment Sloan could look in on neighbouring tenements. Whether directly observed or imaginatively recreated, several etchings suggest this intimate access. In a 1911 diary entry Sloan describes seeing a ‘careless couple … lying on their bed naked and playing with a kitten. She (the woman) would wiggle her toes and the cat would jump at them. … Finally they put out the light’. As in this etching Sloan’s apparent voyeurism is curtailed by extinguishing a lamp.

Gifted by Delaware Art Museum and the Helen Farr Sloan Estate (No. 2017.1/7)


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