Eric Sloane (1905-1985) grew up in New York City, and studied art and lettering with his neighbor Frederick W. Goudy, a well-known sign painter. He was born Everard Jean Hinrichs, but changed his name during his time at the Art Students League of New York. His teachers John Sloan and George Luks thought emerging artists should assume pseudonyms to separate themselves from their early works, so he became Eric (for the middle letters in 'America') and Sloane (for his mentor, John Sloan).
Some of Sloane's first patrons were pilots based in Roosevelt Field, Long Island. Amelia Earhart bought his first cloud painting, and famed American aviator Wiley Post taught Sloane to fly in exchange for painting lessons.
Sloane had a falling out with his family in 1925, and left New York to travel around the country. He worked as sign painter to survive, decorating barns and stores for Red Man Tobacco and other companies. On his adventures, Sloane passed through New Mexico and stayed at the Taos Pueblo. He developed a fascination for history and folklore, inspiring an expansive series of illustrated books that explored American Colonial culture.
The artist eventually returned to New York to paint landscapes in the style of the Hudson River School. Beginning in the 1950's, he took up residence in Taos for part of each year. He built a home in La Tierra, New Mexico in 1975. Sloane captured the light and color of the Land of Enchantment with boundless enthusiasm. 'Hopi Country', the oil painting in our collection, features every brilliant hue in a Land of Enchantment sunset.
Over the course of his career, Sloane produced over 15,000 artworks and 38 books. He died of a heart attack in 1985 on the steps of New York's Plaza Hotel, on his way to a luncheon in his honor. The event was a celebration for the release of his biography, 'Eighty: An American Souvenir.'