John Sloan (1871-1951)
John Sloan (1871-1951)

Corpus Christi Procession

John Sloan (1871-1951)
Corpus Christi Procession
signed '--John Sloan--' (lower right)--signed again and inscribed with title and 'SF 25' (on the stretcher)--inscribed '960' (along the tacking edge)
oil on canvas
30 x 36 in. (76.2 x 91.4 cm.)
Painted in 1925 and 1932.
ACA Galleries, New York, by 1969.
Kraushaar Galleries, New York.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1982.
San Francisco Examiner, November 11, 1928, illustrated.
Art News, August 1945.
V.W. Brooks, John Sloan: A Painter’s Life, New York, 1955, p. 158.
T. Folk, “The Western Paintings of John Sloan,” Art and Antiques, vol. 5, March-April 1982, p. 107, illustrated.
R. Elzea, John Sloan's Oil Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonné, part two, Newark, Delaware, 1991, pp. 274-75, no. 734, illustrated.
New York, Kraushaar Galleries, A Collection of Paintings by John Sloan, January 26-February 12, 1926, no. 11.
Buffalo, New York, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Twenty-second Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists, April 29-June 24, 1928, no. 108.
San Francisco, California, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Painters of the Southwest, November 1-December 31, 1928.
New York, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Exhibition of Work by Living Members, November 13, 1930-May 15, 1931, no. 107.
New York, Wanamaker Galleries; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wanamaker Galleries, John Sloan: Paintings, Etchings, and Drawings, November 1939-January 1940, no. 13.
Colorado Springs, Colorado, Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Artists West of the Mississippi Annual, August-September 1945.
New York, ACA Galleries, Major Acquisitions Including the Lester Avnet Collection of American Paintings, May 1969, no. 66, illustrated.
Coral Gables, Florida, Lowe Art Museum, In Search of the Present: The American Prophets, February 22-March 25, 1973, no. 48.
New York, Kraushaar Galleries, The American Scenes of John Sloan, April 6-May 1, 1976, no. 19.
New York, IBM Gallery of Science and Art; Wilmington, Delaware, Delaware Art Museum; Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Museum of Art; Fort Worth, Texas, Amon Carter Museum, John Sloan: Spectator of Life, April 26, 1988-January 1, 1989, no. 102, illustrated.

Lot Essay

John Sloan "spent 32 summers in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from 1918 to 1950. Like many other early 20th-century painters, Sloan was attracted to the West for its subject matter...Sloan's long time mentor and close personal friend, Robert Henri, spent a great deal of time in Santa Fe. It was Henri's praise for New Mexico--he said it was the finest place in the world to paint--that eventually persuaded Sloan to go West." (T. Folk, “The Western Paintings of John Sloan,” Art and Antiques, vol. 5, March-April 1982, p. 100) After his first drive out to New Mexico with fellow artist Randall Davey and their wives in the summer of 1918, Sloan fell in love with the land and eventually purchased an old adobe house on Garcia Street, designing a studio with an observation platform in the backyard.

As seen in Sloan's Corpus Christi Procession, "many of his Santa Fe paintings are reminiscent of his urban scenes in both composition and treatment of subject matter. In some cases it even seems as if his New York characters have been transported to Santa Fe." (“The Western Paintings of John Sloan,” p. 101) Indeed, Van Wyck Brooks writes, "He delighted in the old adobe houses, the crooked streets, the churches, the tall poplars, the cathedral in the brilliant sunshine, though he noted that strong sunlight was neutralizing and that in New Mexico light the streets of the city were curiously grey. The plaza had some of the appeal for him that Madison Square Garden had had in New York and he painted scenes of it at noon and in the evening with the promenade concert and young people strolling about or sitting on benches." (John Sloan: A Painter's Life, New York, 1955, p. 158)

In the present work, Sloan not only captures the vivid colors of the communal spaces and crowds of the Southwest, but also the unique assimilation of various cultures; the ceremonies of the Catholic Church on Corpus Christi Day are seen in the context of the Native American traditions of the town as well as American patriotism, evidenced by the proudly waving flags along the processional route. In addition to this juxtaposition of customs, Sloan also carefully positions the bustling street scene amidst untouched rolling hills along the horizon and a bright blue expanse of sky. As a result of these compositional and thematic contrasts, in Corpus Christi Procession Sloan celebrates not only the people of Santa Fe but also the natural aspects of the West which drew him there.

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