Allan Edward Sloan
APRIL 6, 2008
Allan Edward Sloan was my grandfather's brother. He was an artist who studied in Paris and New York and lived most of his life in Woodstock NY, where he specialized in drawings and portraits of children, but also did landscapes and still-lifes over a 50 year career. He lived well into his nineties, passing away several years ago.
My greatest memory of him and his work is of the portraits that he created of all the children in his family. These portraits, both pastel drawings and oil paintings, were of his own children (my Uncles Al and Norman), as well as those of his brother, cousins, and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews (including myself). They are a truly unique way of documenting and expressing his love for his family.
I grew up seeing Great Uncle Al's paintings at the homes of my relatives. There was one painting in particular of a depression-era Manhattan skyscraper that I saw every year when visiting my Uncle Al and Aunt Chantal's house for our annual Thanksgiving dinner. In my child's mind, this painting was monumental, exhilarating, and signified some kind of hope and a sense of the world at large. It showed a place where I might travel to or perhaps live when I was a grown-up. I think this painting influenced my Ewan MacLeish paintings of cities. It also planted the seeds of longing in me that led to my eventual move to New York City so that I could fulfill my own skyscraper dreams. Seeing this and other work by my Great Uncle Al when I was a child gave me the courage to think that a career as an artist was indeed possible.
Here are some examples of my great Uncle Al's work that are among my favorites. I hope you enjoy them
The Palisades, looking across the Hudson River from the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Judging from the style of the cars under the El, I think this painting was done in the 1930's, when there was still an amusement park on top of the cliffs across the river.
Detail of the above painting.
Stuyvesant Square, Manhattan, near Second Avenue and 18th streets. Great Uncle Al pushed himself creatively by choosing to paint challenging subject matter like these nighttime scenes.
My Uncles Al and Norman. Uncle Al once mentioned how excruciating it was for them to sit for this portrait.
I think the foreshortening of the ferry, wagon and horses in this painting is beautiful, as is the period clothing.
A screen, painted in an uncharacteristically graphic style.
My Grandma Jo. She passed away recently just a few months before her 100th birthday.