|John Sloan, Eagles of Tesuque, oil on canvas, 1921.|
|Portrait of John Sloan (image source).|
In his late teens, Sloan became responsible for the family's welfare after his father suffered an incapacitating mental breakdown. Taking up a job at Porter and Coates, a bookstore and fine print vendor, he had the opportunity to look through examples of fine art such as Durer and Rembrandt -- inspiring him to take up more creative license in design.
Sloan’s interest in American history and tradition not only found representation through New York-based subject matter, but in Southwestern American scenes as well. Beginning in 1919, Sloan traveled to New Mexico almost annually and depicted scenes such as this, in which two Pueblo Eagle dancers and a chorus perform a ritual to cure illness and promote personal welfare. In keeping with his attraction to a uniquely American dignity, Sloan described Native American rituals such as this as “unimitative” and “profound."
John Sloan was born Aug. 2, 1871 and died Sept. 7, 1951 in Hanover, N.H.
Eagles of Tesuque is on-view now in the first-floor 75th Anniversary galleries.