Archive for April, 2013

April 5, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Recall Dorothy’s reference to Eric’s speech impediment in her notes:

“Stuttering speech impediment.  Mrs. Jessop, speech therapist.  Ran from her in the Forrest Hill home” –  (see full post of April 2, 2013)

was echoed by the artist on many occasions.  At the time, Eric Sloane’s condition was called “stuttering”, something he struggled with throughout his life.  Viewers of the excellent Profiles in American Art video shown to visitors of the Eric Sloane Museum in Kent, Connecticut can detect anomalies in Eric Sloane’s mode of speaking.

One aspect of Eric Sloane’s print interviews that are curious to me is that Eric’s responses to interviewer’s questions are often strikingly similar across both interviews and time.  Different interviews conducted over various years often reveal very little change in Eric’s responses.  I have wondered if the reason for this striking similarity in response could be attributed to Eric’s speech impediment.  Could Eric Sloane have memorized responses to often asked questions in an attempt to mitigate the effects of his speech impediment?  Practicing, rehearsing, and ultimately memorizing responses to typical interview questions, if true, might have served to allow Eric Sloane to focus on how he was saying something as opposed to what he was saying.  Taking this admittedly shaky hypothesis to an even more unstable ground, it might also serve to explain why Eric Sloane sometimes gave what appears to be a “stock answer” to an interviewer’s question, yet the response makes little sense in the context of the question asked.  In these limited examples, the question asked of Eric Sloane falls well out of the norm of typical interview questions.  Re-reading these old interview transcripts does at least give the impression that Eric Sloane may have memorized his responses to commonly asked questions and that when asked a question that fell out of the normal range of expected questions, Eric Sloane provided a “stock answer” which may have not answered the question asked of him.

To be clear, this is not a critique of the artist.  If anything, it is illustrative of both his humanity and his courage.  If true, it would serve as yet another inspiring example of both how incredibly hard Eric Sloane worked at so many aspects of his personal and professional lives, and just how much courage he could muster in granting interviews which he knew would be memorialized in print.

April 5, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Do you or someone you know know Eric Sloane?  The Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum would like to ask you if you would be interested in participating in a video documentary to preserve the recollections of people who know Eric Sloane.  The friends group has enlisted the services of Michael Bird, owner of MHBird Productions, to begin to videotape a documentary of those who knew Eric Sloane.  The Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum will provide logistical and financial support to further enhance an oral history project begun by Barbara Russ.  Over the years, Barbara has been conducting interviews with people who knew Eric Sloane.  The friends group recognized the importance of Barbara’s work and understood that, because of the advancing years of many possible interviewees, her work needed to be accelerated and enhanced, if possible.  To that end, Michael agreed to donate his time and services as a professional videographer to not only tape interviews, but to travel to the homes of the interview subjects.

This is an extremely important opportunity and project.  We are currently seeking a person who might be interested in traveling with Michael to actually conduct the interviews as he will have his hands full in operating all of the recording equipment.  Additionally, we are seeking to partner with an individual or business interested in underwriting the costs of this important project.  Please contact Jim Mauch at 570-204-2906 or by email at wil@weatherhillfarm.com for additional details.  MH Bird Productions can be reached at mhbird@att.net or by calling 860-350-1134.

April 5, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

I have read or have been told several stories, always in passing and somewhat vague, of “the mystery man of the Latin Quarter” in early tales of a young Eric Sloane.  In her notes of Eric Sloane’s young adulthood, Eric Sloane’s sister Dorothy Hinrichs also mentions “the mystery man of the Latin Quarter”.  I do recall asking Dorothy about the reference during one of our visits and Dorothy suggested that Eric Sloane “hoaxed” residents of the Latin Quarter of New Orleans, where he found himself after running away from home.  Apparently, Eric Sloane either purposefully exhibited signs of having amnesia, or residents attributed those characteristics to him.  At any rate, at some point an article from the local newspaper was sent to Dorothy from Eric Sloane, the article describing a man who fit Eric Sloane’s description as wandering about the Latin Quarter with no memory of who he was or from whence he came.  The reporter dubbed him “The Mystery Man of the Latin Quarter” and he was cause for some sensation.  Just what Eric Sloane might have been “up to” is hard to divine…

April 2, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Dorothy (please see the posts under The Art of Eric Sloane category to follow this thread) also included within her handwritten notes of her recollections of growing up with Eric Sloane, a list of words she used to describe Eric Sloane paintings:

straight forward, forceful, robust, rugged, strong, vigorous, direct, sturdy, hardy, masculine, massive, solid, forceful

 

April 2, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Young Eric Sloane also could be charming in an unintentional and sometimes humorous way.  In Dorothy’s hand is a glimpse of both her love for, and admiration of, her brother, as well as a foreshadowing of personality in the older Eric Sloane:

“Telling me that if anyone ever called you a ‘son of a bitch’ to all but kill them because it is an insult to your mother”

“Do as I say, not as I do”

“Whispering clear answers I should give to his questions in order to impress his friends”

Eric Sloane’s early morning doings at Cedar Crest – hunting for arrow heads and crawfish under rocks.  Eric Sloane’s “boathouse doings”-fishing and searching for night crawlers

Giving “chalk talks” on weather (Dorothy didn’t write down any subjects – wouldn’t weather be a fitting one?)

“Stuttering speech impediment.  Mrs. Jessop, speech therapist.  Ran from her in the Forrest Hill home” – *** more on this in the future.

Dorothy concludes this section of notes with one last bit of news – when Eric Sloane ran away from home and returned some weeks later, he was met at the door by “Madame X” (the name Dorothy and Eric gave to their stepmother) with a riding crop in her hand!

April 2, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Dorothy’s notes about young Everard Hinrichs also reveal an intelligent, if not restless young man.  Some of her recollections are echoed by an older Eric Sloane in many of his books on early American life, work, and material culture.  Dorothy wrote that a young Eric Sloane

“built his own tandem bike out of two discarded bikes he picked up from the dump”

“built elaborate Halloween contraptions with ropes and pulleys.  Ghosts flying through the air”

“made shadow puppet shows on the wall”

“built the first radio antenna in the Forrest Hill (Long Island) area from the chimney to 2″ x 4″ s at the peak of the house roof”

April 2, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

I was going through some old papers yesterday when I found a number of hand written pages I saved, authored by Dorothy Hinrichs, Eric Sloane’s sister.  Dorothy gave me these pages over a decade ago, some of her notes she used when writing her book on Eric Sloane’s early life and career.  Her notes appear as a list, often describing the attributes of a young Eric Sloane, sometimes describing her recollections and impressions of Cedar Crest, or perhaps walking through the woods.  Here are some notes she penned regarding Eric Sloane as a young man:

“..kidnapping a boy scout band to serenade our mother, on water in front of the boathouse in the evening.”

“Diving from boathouse roof in full evening dress”

“Blowing up mother’s silver salt and peppers on July 4th with gunpowder”

“Taking best handkerchiefs to use for paintings”

“Giving presents then giving them to other people”

“Carrying furniture out of house to take to hock shops”

“Teasing sister”

Quite a character, even in youth.  We all have similar events in our own youth, experiences and attributes we would rather forget – and have others forget, too.  Yet Dorothy loved her brother Everard dearly, and had much else to pen concerning Everard, who of course was to grow up to be internationally recognized as Eric Sloane, artist.