barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

John Sloan (1871-1951)

Fifth Avenue Critics (New York City Life Series)

New York, 1905


Plate: 12.2 x 17.3 cm; sheet: 25.4 x 32.1 cm 


In his 1906 diary Sloan described Lower East Side streets full of ‘healthy faced children, solid-legged, rich full color to their hair. Happiness rather than misery in the whole life. Fifth Avenue faces are unhappy in comparison’. Six years before Sloan made this etching the sociologist Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) launched his blistering critique of America’s ‘leisure class’ whose carriages, ostentatious clothing and liveried servants were forms of ‘conspicuous consumption’.

Gifted by Delaware Art Museum and the Helen Farr Sloan Estate in 2017 (No. 2017.1/2)

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