John Sloan (1871-1951)
Sixth Avenue Elevated at Third Street
Oil on canvas
Overall: 30 × 40 1/8 in. (76.2 × 101.9 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase
Rights and Reproductions Information
© artist or artist’s estate
In Sixth Avenue Elevated at Third Street, John Sloan encapsulates the excitement and energy of New York City nightlife in the late 1920s. He focuses primarily on a group of young women scattering before an on-coming car as the elevated train lumbers over their heads into the station. While Sloan shows the men walking or driving sedately in the background, he portrays the women in a flurry of activity, arm in arm, running, and pulling each other. Their bobbed hair and knee-length skirts—the latest in fashion—convey new-found freedoms for women. 1920 saw the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, allowing women to vote in the United States. As the decade progressed, increasing numbers of young women were entering a booming work force to fill the growing need for secretaries and office workers. And the "flapper" epitomized the high spirits and carefree attitudes of America's youth at a time of unparalleled social change and material prosperity.