John Sloan is known as a painter who painted life scenes of the common people in modern cities. Sloan, who started as a newspaper illustrator, painted light and shadow in rapidly growing metropolitan New York while being criticized as "vulgar" by the academic American circles of painting. Life in a small apartment, laborers who commute on an elevated railroad, children who play in the city, and life downtown at night. With a reality of American life to which no one had paid attention until then as his theme, Sloan opened the door for the next generation of "American Scene" painters. In "Fall of the Greenwich Village Bastille", a demolition site is portrayed as seen from the steps of the elevated train station. The area around Washington Square in south Manhattan, where 5th Avenue starts, is called Greenwich Village and is known as a town with free and easy atmosphere where young artist gather to live. In contrast to the figures of laborers who are trying to warm themselves by the bonfire, ladies and gentlemen in neat clothes are chatting and smiling as they descend the stairway. Just before the outbreak of worldwide financial crisis, the reality of Greenwich Village in transition can be seen from the scene of an old jail being demolished in order to build a new and modern prison.
(Source: Selected Works from the Collection of Nagoya City Art Museum, 1998, P. 73.)


  • Title: Fall of the Greenwich Village Bastille
  • Creator: John Sloan
  • Date Created: 1929
  • Location: America
  • Physical Dimensions: 76.2×61.0 cm
  • Provenance: Purchased in 1995
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Nagoya City Art Museum
  • Medium: Oil and Tempera on cardboard

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