John Sloan (1871-1954), Barbershop, 1915, etching and aquatint, signed in pencil lower right, inscribed in pencil “For John Quinn, Esq. – John Sloan” lower left margin, (also signed and dated in the plate lower right. Reference: Morse 173, third state (of three). Morse notes the edition was 100, but the printing was probably less. Printed in a brownish/black ink on wove paper, with margins, 10 x 12 inches, the sheet 13 x 15 inches.

A very fine impression.

The eminent lawyer and art collector John Quinn was introduced to Sloan by John Butler Yeats, father of the poet William Butler Yeats. Quinn purchased a complete set of Sloan’s etchings in 1910 (for $340), a time when that money was much needed by Sloan after he ended his career with the Philadelphia Press in 1910. Quinn continued to be an important figure in Sloan’s life, and the art scene, until his death (and in 1926, after his death, Sloan bought back the prints Quinn had bought in 1910; they’re now in the John Sloan Trust, at the Delaware Art Center).

Barbershop is one of Sloan’s most significant works, both because of the wonderful composition, and because it is his first aquatint. It captured the moment. The sign at the upper left reads “Turpitude the Great Hair Raiser”; at the right one of the waiting customers is reading Puck, and on the table is a copy of The Masses (the early 20th Century socialist/art magazine).