Did Eric Sloane Paint On Location?

Did Eric Sloane paint on location, or from memory?

           I was asked a question recently about whether or not most of Eric’s paintings were of a specific location or not. It is difficult to pinpoint a location of most Eric’s paintings.  It is true that some of Eric’s paintings were of specific buildings and therefore, by extension, of particular locales.  Some examples that come to mind are the barns of various Shaker communities, covered bridges, and the Rancho de Taos Mission church in New Mexico. These examples of identifiable structures and objects are relatively uncommon examples within the body of known work by Eric.  He trended towards less directly identifiable scenes over the course of his career, but I am not convinced that this was a conscious decision on the part of the artist.  Part of the reason for this is that he did not paint on location, rather – at least according to Sloane himself – from memory.  This is partially true.  He did paint his recollections, but I have found in nearly 25 years of research that he was liberally aided by books and photographs.  So much so that a small number of his paintings appear as fully copied images from an identifiable photograph in a specific book.  He seemed to love the Pennsylvania landscape, to the extent that quite often he painted a Pennsylvania bank barn in a work he would title “Connecticut Winter”, or something similar.  Quite a few Sloane landscapes are really almost a montage of memories that don’t always “go together”.

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