By examining American art and artifacts from the museum’s collection, these teacher materials promote discussion of America’s national character and heritage.
John Sloan (American, 1871-1951)
oil on canvas, Framed: 97.15 x 82.23 x 6.35 cm (38 3/16 x 32 5/16 x 2 1/2 inches); Unframed: 80.30 x 65.40 cm (31 9/16 x 25 11/16 inches). Gift of Amelia Elizabeth White 1964.160
Trained as a journalist, the young Sloan explored social issues more vigorously than most of the painters of his time, portraying working-class urbanites engaged in ordinary activities. He observed this particular scene through a rear window of his Manhattan apartment. Perched on a narrow fire escape, a woman hangs fresh laundry to dry on clotheslines strung between tenements. As evidenced by the painting, the labors of American women at the turn of the 1900s were most often confined to the domestic realm.