Friday, July 31, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ John French Sloan, Socialist of the Ashcan School

Around the time Uranus moved from Sagittarius to Capricorn in late 1904/early 1905 and formed an opposition to Neptune in the early degrees of Cancer, a new atmosphere was arising. Writers, journalists and artists opened their eyes to what was going on in the real world, the injustices, the strivings of ordinary people. The Muckrakers (see archived post HERE), including novelists such as Upton Sinclair heard "the call" and responded.
John French Sloan, Self portrait
John French Sloan was one of a group of New York painters, hailing from Philadephia, who also heard the same "call" and decided to give American art something of a makeover. They'd seen too many scenes depicting mythological and biblical tales, too much stodgy moralising in paint. Their aim was to depict real Americans doing real, everyday things. Critics labelled these painters with a then somewhat derogatory term, "The Ashcan School". Sloan was one of the most politically minded of this group, and demonstrated this very clearly in his secondary style of artwork: sketches for radical magazines such as The Masses.

I think the most telling piece of all in his natal chart is Venus (planet of the arts) in helpful sextile to Uranus (planet of rebellion/revolution).

 12 noon chart - click to enlarge
Sloan was born on in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania on 2 August 1871. He studied art in Philadelphia, worked as an illustrator there, and moved to New York in 1904, after he married. The couple made their home in Bohemian Greenwich Village. Many of his paintings reflect the way life was for ordinary New York folk. Vintage photographs from that era can tell us something of those times, but most are studio portraits; Sloan and his peers left us, in their paintings, some little slices of informal everyday life in the early years of 20th century.

This under 3 minute video shows just a few of Sloan's paintings. More can be seen via Google Image.

 Hat-tip HERE

In 1912 Sloan assumed the position of art editor of The Masses, a magazine with strongly socialist leanings, addressing working-class issues.

 From HERE
Around the start of World War I Sloan became disillusioned with the ability of the Socialist party to make a real difference in workers' lives. He withdrew from the Socialist party, reduced his magazine input, and ceased working for The Masses completely in 1916, following a dispute regarding the magazine's art and political content. He was always a strong supporter of women's suffrage and contributed drawings to feminist magazines, Woman Voter and Woman's Journal.

John Sloan’s drawing of a coal miner’s suicidal vengeance after the murders of his wife and children has become an icon of American labor history. It is an enduring memorial to the twenty individuals—thirteen of them women and children—who were shot at or burned to death when Colorado National Guardsmen fired upon an undefended union tent colony on April 20, 1914, in what was quickly dubbed the Ludlow Massacre. This watershed event dramatized the abuse of unregulated authority by industrialists and their agents and won widespread national support for the cause of the miners.(HERE)

 John D. Rockefeller with blood on his hands.  Workingmen’s fists try to break down the door behind him.  Bible with his initials is on the floor at his feet. (See here)

 "In Memoriam". "Here is the real triangle"  relates to  Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911 (Here)

 N.A.M. =  National Association of Manufacturers
Besides funding pro-fascists groups like the Silver Shirts, corporate America sponsored several other groups that maintained a speck of respectability. One such organization that figured prominently in spreading the propaganda was the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The first president of NAM was Samuel Bush, father of Prescott and grandfather of George H. W. Bush [great grandfather of George W. Bush]. Such organizations as NAM would serve as bridge groups between the rich corporate owners and the public.

 "Positively disgusting! It's an outrage to public decency to allow such exposure on the streets"

 Puzzle: Find a way to vote without helping the Dough Dough Class.
See HERE (click on image to clarify.)

The following two drawings are Sloan's illustrations for Mary Alden Hopkins,"Women March," in Collier's magazine, May 18, 1912.

 Hooray, hooray for Mother!


mike said...

His artistic expression might well be the result of Venus sextile Uranus, but I think the root of his sensitivity and awareness toward social causes originate with his Mars-Uranus-Neptune T-square. A good thing that he released his angst via his artistic expression, as that T-square is steam under pressure. His Venus relates to each: semi-sextile Mars, sextile Uranus, inconjunct Neptune.

The human condition never seems to change very much! 2015 tends to be an echo of his era, much like his era was similar to the ones before it. Justice and equality are simple concepts, but living la dolce vida is extremely complex, with a wide range of definitions. Soul mongers are a special breed that keep karma alive and well here on planet Earth.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I agree - that T-square had to figure strongly in his nature, and it does tie to Venus at every point. Thanks for adding that point. :-)

I was struck, too, by the similarity of what was going on then to our current situations. All that have changed are our fashions and modes of transport and communication.

Anonymous said...

Anyjazz has a great collection ...

I would say I'm like a detective ... but I don't care to solve anything.
Like Chauncey Gardner would say ... "I like to watch" (observe)

Hopefully I'm not repeating myself with this you-tube jaunt ...


Twilight said...

Anon/kidd ~ I think you maybe meant this comment to go under the previous day's post - I'll add it there too, and respond there.