- Gallery Text
Robert Smullyan Sloan was drafted into the army in 1943 and stationed in New York, where he illustrated educational materials for the armed services and produced posters for the U.S. Treasury’s war bond campaign. In this painstakingly detailed composition reminiscent of early Flemish painting, he portrays a U.S. Army private wearing a dress uniform with ribbons designating a Good Conduct Medal and participation in the European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign. The artist’s title, however, accords him only the designation of his race, using the language of that historical moment.
African Americans fought a two-front battle during World War II, facing enemies overseas and racism at home. The view out the window in Sloan’s work alludes to the distinguished soldier’s dreary prospects upon his return to the gritty urban environment of 125th Street in Harlem.
- Identification and Creation
Level 1, Room 1320, Modern and Contemporary Art, Social Realism
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- Physical Descriptions
- Egg tempera and oil on board
- 68 x 58 cm (26 3/4 x 22 13/16 in.)
framed: 67 x 56.8 x 4.5 cm (26 3/8 x 22 3/8 x 1 3/4 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- Signed: Signed, "Robert Smullyan Sloan, 1945" on lower right corner on shirt pocket. Signed on back, "Robert Smullyan Sloan, 14 Arlington St., Marlborough, NY".
- Collection of the artist (1945-2004) sold; to Fogg Art Museum.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Michael Kempner, Michael Maher, and Ann Schwarz
- © Robert Smullyan Sloan
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Modern and Contemporary Art
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- Exhibition History
Painting in the United States, Carnegie Institute, 10/09/1947 - 12/07/1947
The 21st Biennial Exhibition of 1949, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 03/27/1949 - 05/08/1949
Robert S. Sloan: Genre Paintings, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, 02/13/1974 - 03/10/1974
32Q: 1320 Social Realism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
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