The art of Jack B Yeats and John Sloan: Connections and change
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In 1904, at the instigation of his patron John Quinn, and on the occasion of his first solo show in the city, Jack B Yeats spent six weeks in New York. Three years later, his father John Butler Yeats arrived in Manhattan, managing to extend his sojourn until his death in 1922. John Sloan’s painting Yeats at Petitpas’ (1910) celebrates père Yeats. It also reveals the hitherto unexplored connection between the lives and work of Sloan and Jack B Yeats. Both Yeats and Sloan started out as illustrators before turning to paint, and the life of the people was the subject of their art. This is particularly evident in Sloan’s New York City Life (1905-1911) and Yeats’s Life in the West of Ireland (1912) when the confluence of contact between the two men was forged by Quinn, John Butler Yeats, and the art dealer William Macbeth. Yeats’s and Sloan’s entries in the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art and Yeats’s inclusion, at the behest of Sloan, in the American Society of Independent Artists annual shows from 1921 to 1926, trace the subsequent shift in their art, with Yeats starting to paint Dublin city life, and Sloan’s turning to New Mexico for inspiration. The influence popular visual and literary culture had on Yeats’s and Sloan’s graphic vision of the people – with a new cycle of illustrations by Yeats disclosed – and wider developments in art and history which impacted their successive oeuvres, is traced through articles and interviews, correspondence and catalogues, sketchbooks and diary entries, opening up a dialogue between the work of Yeats and Sloan, exploring the connections between them, and affinities and change in their art.