Pilots and Eric Sloane

November 18, 2017 |  by  |  Comments Off on Pilots and Eric Sloane

Reflecting today on the number pilots who have spoken to us about their appreciation for the early work of Eric Sloane in the areas of meteorology and flying. More than one pilot has told us a story about how he used what he learned from an Eric Sloane book to help him be a better pilot.

How to tell if an Eric Sloane painting is real or a print

March 15, 2017 |  by  |  Comments Off on How to tell if an Eric Sloane painting is real or a print
October Gleaning by Eric Sloane
Note:  Images of Eric Sloane works of art included in this article are all prints, not original works of art.
          Many Eric Sloane paintings were turned into prints over the years.  For decades, it was a very lucrative market.  A problem with these prints were that they were made to look exactly like the original.  Not to suggest that they were “fakes” – they were just made to look like the original paintings.  Often, they were sold in furniture stores and large retailers like Macy’s as a decorative item.
   Cloud Symphony by Eric Sloane
          Eric Sloane prints, especially ones that were made c. 1950-1975, share some similarities to originals.  First, they are often framed.  Second, they were affixed to a mid weight board, very similar to the Masonite sheets that Eric painted upon.  Third, the printing technology used to create the prints produced vivid and realistic colors very similar to oil paints, and finally, prints often appear “varnished”, as a machine was used to “paint” a coating over the print to both protect it and to make it appear as an original painting.  Sometimes, the machine produced “varnish” will readily give the “painting” away as a print.  The machine produced “varnish” will often appear like small swirls of a paint brush – usually 1/2″ to 1″ wide per swirl.  These swirls will repeat themselves across the entire image.  When Eric varnished his paintings, he usually used as 3″ – 4″ house painting brush and the strokes were decidedly not uniform in appearance.
Nostalgic Summer by Eric Sloane
     These prints were VERY good and have fooled a lot of people, including art dealers.
Contrast the two prints above with the previous images.  Obviously, a print is easily detected when it is printed on paper.  However, many thousands of Eric Sloane prints were printed on paper, affixed to sheets of masonite, then received an application of what appears to be varnish, all before being housed in a frame.  The result can be very convincing and has lured more than one unsuspecting buyer into purchasing a print at original prices.
        There are several other methods to use to determine if a painting is an original or a print.  The most basic is to determine if the painting has a provenance, or a written chain of ownership, preferably back to the original purchaser.  The paperwork should reflect prices paid at any point when ownership was transferred (e.g. from an art gallery to a buyer).  Eric Sloane paintings were almost always expensive enough to warrant some type of sales record, even between private parties.
Fairfax Bridge by Eric Sloane
    Original Eric Sloane paintings have a much different “feel” to them than prints, and there many aspects of an Eric Sloane work that provide clues as to it’s authenticity, year created, and even the Sloane’s purpose for painting the scence.
October Gleaning by Eric Sloane
      One sure way to determine if a work by Eric Sloane is a print or an original is to examine it carefully under strong magnification.  Usually a hand held magnifying glass is not strong enough.  You’ll need a more powerful glass, a loupe works best of all.  
 This particular print is an interesting one as I have only ever come across it printed on a canvas-like material.  I have had several people tell me that they new it to be a print right away as Eric Sloane never painted on canvas.  In truth, while it is a print, Eric did paint on canvas early in his career, but ceased using it c. 1952.
      A loupe is often used by a jeweler or watch maker, and is usually found in a comparatively powerful magnification.  You can use one to examine the lighter portions of the image (white clouds are a good choice).  If you are examining a print, under magnification you will see “printer’s dots”, a term given to the  hexagon-shaped blobs of ink laid down on the paper to form the image.  These printer’s dots are so tiny that they aren’t usually visible to the naked eye.  Under magnification, they look something like a photograph printed at really low resolution – a “pixelated” image.  When examined under magnification, the pixels that make up the photograph are evident – to the naked eye that image appears normal.  The same is true for prints.  Under magnification, the printer’s dots are evident, but to the naked eye, all you see is a painting.  
    To be sure, someone owns the original from which a print was made.  In only three of the examples of prints shown in this article do I know who owns the original.  You never know if you have the original.  It pays to check – every one of these examples is listed routinely on ebay and rarely fetches more than about $75 in excellent condition.  The original oil painting from which any one of these prints was struck would be worth anywhere from $15,000-$45,000.
    Comments I made previously in this article bear repeating.  All of the images used in this articles are prints.  Some framed, most quite large, all stunning, and many appear to be original works of art by Eric Sloane.  However, keep in mind that, when these were made, Eric Sloane was a household name.  It is very difficult to believe that one would somehow end up at a Salvation Army, yard sale, attic, basement, etc. In over twenty years in this business, I have yet to come across anyone who had an “Antiques Roadshow” moment where they paid $5.00 for an Eric Sloane painting at a yard sale that is worth $45,000.  Unfortunately, my experience is to the contrary.  I receive an average of five calls or emails every week from folks who are convinced – or just really want to believe – that they have an original.

Eric Sloane and the Smithsonian

October 25, 2016 |  by  |  No Comments

Some great photographs can be found at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collections Division.  The photographs show the finished version of Eric Sloane’s Earth Flight Environment as well as some images of the artist at work.  I did not realize that there is another Eric Sloane mural, hidden currently behind a wall, in the Age of Flight section of the museum.  From the photograph, it looks like a great mural.  Has anyone seen it in person?

Eric Sloane and New England Stone

March 26, 2015 |  by  |  No Comments

Author’s note:  This article appeared in the Spring, 2005 issue of Legacy, the newsletter of the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum.  It was written in support of the theme established for the 2015 programming season at the Eric Sloane Museum:  Eric Sloane and New England Stone.

                      The New England dry-laid stonewall: Eric Sloane’s Art

sloane stone walls 1

Stonewalls were often featured in Eric Sloane’s paintings, illustrations and books. In some cases, as in the illustration above, the stonewall was the subject matter. In other cases – and more frequently – Eric Sloane used stonewalls prominently in his artistic works that reflected a more generalized New England landscape. Eric’s treatment of stonewalls can be used to help identify an original oil painting executed by the artist, as well as to help determine when he painted a particular scene.

chapin stone wall

            In this detail from an original oil on panel Eric created in 1959, the treatment of the stone wall in foreground shows how he used dark brown oil paint to simulate gaps between the stones. Many of the stones throughout the wall are comparatively small in size, though there are a small number of larger stones that can be discerned as well. The top of the wall is painted in a nearly uniform height and shades of grays and blues predominate. Most of the stones show the effects of the artist scraping paint with the flat side of a razor blade, a technique Eric describes using in several of his publications. However, in this painting, as in many of Eric’s earlier works, he used the razor blade to smooth the final application of paint. These techniques differ markedly from ones Eric employed during the later years of his life, as evidenced by the detail of the painting below, which Eric completed in 1975:

sloane painting stone wall

          In this detail, Eric’s treatment of the stonewall in the foreground may appear similar to that of the first painting, yet subtle differences confirm a later date of completion. Generally, Eric created many more larger stones that appear much more dimensional than the stones he painted earlier in his career. No longer did Eric employ dark pigment to indicate gaps in the wall; later in his career his used an ebony marking pencil to draw in that feature. Eric also largely abandoned any attempt to create a uniform height in his walls. Stonewalls in Eric’s paintings began to look much more like “thrown” walls, or walls that had deteriorated over time. Two additional aspects found within Eric’s stonewalls that are significant is his use of color and the aforementioned razorblade.

           Throughout the 1970s, Eric expanded his color choices in depicting stonewalls to include browns and greens. The results are quite pleasing as both colors served to simulate moss and lichens found on older, established New England stonewalls. Further, Eric continued to use his razor blade technique to give his stonewalls depth and texture, but he modified it slightly to achieve a more loose, rather than a forced, look. Eric also relied more on an underlayment of pigment, which he allowed to dry before putting the final layer of paint to be worked. Unlike the earlier technique in which Eric only worked the final layer of paint, he was now using the razor blade to both add texture to his stone and to scrape of enough color on some of the stones to reveal the underlying colors.

Much like his treatment of the sky, one can tell an Eric Sloane painting almost immediately by his skill in painting stone.

A new article on Eric Sloane

December 12, 2014 |  by  |  No Comments

http://www.common-place.org/vol-13/no-04/walthausen/

          This scholarly glimpse into the literary body of work produced by Eric Sloane crossed my desk the other day. Writing in Common –Place, an online journal sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society and the University of Connecticut, author Abigail Walthausen provides some much needed context for Eric’s literary inspiration. In my opinion, there is truth in much of Ms. Walthausen writes, but I have come to view Eric Sloane’s artistic inspirations in a somewhat different light. Much of what Eric was trying to convey in his works on paper and on Masonite was, ironically, an acknowledgement our nation’s progress. This acknowledgement was couched in a philosophical look at loss, and it is that ethos of loss that seems to permeate Sloane’s works. Yes, America has progressed greatly since the founding of our nation, but what have we – individually and collectively – lost during this period? It’s a bold and a somewhat impertinent question the artist asked. It is the question, however, that makes Eric’s point that he was not “longing for a better past” or simply “nostalgic”, but his exploration was more nuanced, more complex.

July 23, 2014 |  by  |  No Comments

The IRS 1023 application submitted by the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum has been reviewed by the Internal Revenue Service and the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum is now officially a non-profit organization!  The process was lengthy, difficult – and so worth the effort.  As a 501c3 public charity, the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum can accept monetary donations as well as donations of stocks, bonds, and securities, paintings, tangible property, and many other forms of donations.  As we have practiced since the inception of the organization, no one in the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum receives compensation in any form.  We are strictly a volunteer organization committed to the advancement of Eric Sloane and the museum he founded.

July 20, 2014 |  by  |  No Comments

Weather Hill Farm is seeking original pen and ink illustrations by Eric Sloane, N.A. for an upcoming project.  We are seeking images, preferably direct scans but clear photographs are welcome as well – please include how you would like your name(s) to appear in a credit when submitting an image.  Scans or photographs should be clear and bright and saved at a high resolution as a jpeg file.  You may send to wil@weatherhillfarm.com or use our mailing address:

Weather Hill Farm

2746 Stein Lane

Lewisburg, PA  17837

Please feel free to contact us with any questions about this project.

July 14, 2014 |  by  |  No Comments

An image from the current exhibit The Artist Who Loved the Sky:  Cloudscapes, Weather, and the World of Eric Sloane, which will close October 3rd.  This wonderful exhibit chronicles Eric’s work with the sky and meteorology with a specific emphasis on his original art.  Some early and rare original works of art are included in this exhibit.

July 14, 2014 |  by  |  No Comments

An image from the current exhibit The Artist Who Loved the Sky:  Cloudscapes, Weather, and the World of Eric Sloane, which will close October 3rd.  This wonderful exhibit chronicles Eric’s work with the sky and meteorology with a specific emphasis on his original art.  Some early and rare original works of art are included in this exhibit.

March 28, 2014 |  by  |  No Comments

A more detailed photograph of the Eric Sloane-designed business card he was using in the 1940s.  These are extremely rare – I have only heard of another in existence, though I have never seen it.  This card is framed along with “Brewster F2A2” by Eric Sloane, N.A.