Artwork of the Week: June 6

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John Sloan (American, 1871–1951), Movies, oil on canvas, 1913. 19 7/8 x 24 in. Gallery 30B

John Sloan (American, 1871–1951), Movies, oil on canvas, 1913. 19 7/8 x 24 in. Gallery 30B

John Sloan was one of a group of New York-based artists who created a particularly American style of painting: gritty urban scenes often painted with quick brushstrokes that suggest, rather than define, form. Here, Sloan depicts the marquee of a newly recognizable building in urban life: the movie house. These modern marvels were becoming more common in American cities since their inception in 1905. Just like in the silent films of the day, the interplay of glances between the people in the painting engages the viewer and establishes drama. Two women in the center look at two men in the lower right corner and exchange eye contact as if to express themselves without using words.


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