barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

John Sloan (1871-1951)

Roofs, Summer Night (New York City Life Series)

New York, 1906


Plate: 13.3 x 17.6 cm; sheet: 25.2 x 32.7 cm 


Lower Manhattan’s cramped, cheaply constructed, poorly ventilated apartments became unbearably hot in summer months, forcing residents to sleep on fire escapes and rooftops. Sloan loved these at once public and private spaces, observing his neighbours gossiping, drying their hair and doing laundry by day, sleeping or exchanging flirtatious glances by night. Who looks at whom, and is that gaze reciprocated?

Gifted by Delaware Art Museum and the Helen Farr Sloan Estate in 2017 (No. 2017.1/9)

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