Sloan was born in the lumber town of Lock Haven,
Pennsylvania in 1871 and lived there until his
family moved to Philadelphia when he was five.
John attended Central High School with William
Glackens, a fellow artist of the Eight.
John taught himself to etch and sketch and by
1891 at the age of 20, he was working as a commercial
illustrator and obtained a job as a staff artist
at the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper.
Sloan attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the
Fine Arts where he met Robert Henri and other
artists of the Eight circle and they encouraged
each other to work at oil painting. Sloan was
a student of Thomas Anshutz and studied in his
famous Antique Class from 1892 to 1893.
Sloan became known as the American Hogarth for
his realist depiction of scenes of everyday
people and life. In 1895, Sloan took a new position
at the Philadelphia Press where he continued
to work until 1903. By that time, original illustrations
had been replaced by the work of photographers
and Sloan continued his career as a painter
and printmaker, no longer working to the same
extent as an illustrator.
Sloan joined his friends in New York City where
they (Robert Henri, George Luks, William Glackens,
and Everett Shinn) all had worked in the movement
known as new realism or modernism. Recognized
as a talented narrative painter, John Sloan
taught painting and exhibited his work in the
new modern genre style depicting images of the
city and its residents. Sloan married his wife,
Dolly (born Anna M. Wall), in 1901.
By 1912, Sloan became art director of the Masses
socialist magazine. In 1913-14, he exhibited
two paintings and five etchings at the famed
Armory Show and resumed full time teaching and
painting as a faculty member at the Art Students'
League in New York.
His students from the Art Students League included:
Sloan quit his job with the Masses and resigned
from the Socialist Party. During this time,
Sloan began his long association with Kraushaar
Galleries and in 1918, he became president of
the Society of Independent Artists.
From 1914 to 1919, Sloan devoted his time to
plein aire painting and summered in the artist
colony at Gloucester, MA. In 1919, Sloan and
his wife, Dolly visited Santa Fe, NM and his
subjects included nudes and the landscape. Sloan
was elected to the National Academy and lived
at 88 Washington Place, New York, NY in the
He was elected President of the League in 1931
and retired from teaching in 1938. After the
death of Sloan's first wife, Dolly, from coronary
heart disease in 1943, he married Helen Farr,
a former student. Helen Farr had assisted Sloan
in his compilation of the information for his
philosophical art publication based on his lectures
entitled The Gist of Art . In 1944, Sloan married
Helen Farr. In 1950, he was awarded the Gold
Medal from the American Academy of Arts and
Letters. John Sloan died of cancer in Hanover,
NH in 1951.