John Sloan (1871–1951), Kraushaar’s

Posted on July 22nd, 2014 by

Kraushaar'sJohn Sloan (1871–1951)
Kraushaar’s, 1926
Etching on paper, 4 x 5 inches
Hillstrom Museum of Art purchase with endowment acquisition funds

Kraushaar’s is one of several etchings in which Sloan explored the sometimes humorous, sometimes disheartening world of the art dealer. This print depicts a wealthy couple as they examine potential art purchases in the gallery of the prominent New York City art dealer Kraushaar. For much of his career, Sloan was represented by this firm, which was founded in 1885 by Charles Kraushaar. His younger brother John Kraushaar, who later joined the business, was particularly enthused about the works of Robert Henri (1865–1929) and his circle of The Eight. Like the Macbeth Gallery, Kraushaar’s was important for the support it provided to these artists. Sloan’s achievement of commercial success for his own work (as opposed to the illustrations he frequently made for magazines) was rather slow in coming, but John Kraushaar continued to champion him. Sloan said of Kraushaar that he was the most honest dealer in the country and the Kraushaar Gallery continues to represent the Sloan Estate today. In this print, the artist considers the motivations and economics of art collecting. With his typical humor, he has depicted Kraushaar in his well-appointed gallery, trying to make a sale. Sloan recalled the image and its subject, in comments that were published by his widow, Helen Farr Sloan, in a 1978 publication titled John Sloan, New York Etchings (1905–1949): “My old friend John F. Kraushaar, engaged in the difficult job of selling a picture to a man whose wife feels she needs sables…. My old friend J.F.K. engaged in the difficult job of helping a husband persuade a lady who already has a mink coat that she could add to her splendors by owning a painting.” These two descriptions provide a glimpse into the psychology and vicissitudes of selling art to the public, and also comment on the social status and pretensions of many potential owners of art works.

Text from the catalogue for the exhibition The Eight, The Ashcan School, and The American Scene in the Hillstrom Collection, presented in the Hillstrom Museum of Art February 25 through April 21, 2013.


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