Easter Eve, Washington Square

sloaneastereveJohn Sloan (1871-1951), Easter Eve, Washington Square, etching and aquatint, 1926, signed in pencil lower right, titled, inscribed “100 proofs”; also signed by the printer Charles White and inscribed “imp.” Reference: Morse 222, third state (of 3). 60 proofs were taken of the third state. In very good condition, with wide margins, printed on a thin hand made laid paper (with some tiny paper imperfections), 10 x 8 1/8, the sheet 15 x 10 15/16 inches, archival mounting.

A fine atmospheric impression, delicately printed with an overall veil of plate tone, without the relatively harsh selective wiping found on some impressions. In this impression the overall effect is rather dark (as befits a depiction of a rainy evening); variations in light are created by the different aquatint layering.

Easter Eve is a complex composition, with several layers of aquatint which Sloan used to soften what was, for him, an initially overly harsh rendering. In his own words: “I hardly ever use a zinc plate. They are so soft that you can’t work on them long before they get worn down in deep hollows….The Easter Eve was started as a pure etching and the lines were bitten down too deeply and coarsely so I went on and made an aquatint out of it.”

The scene is Washington Square, April, 1926. Sloan’s description: “An aquatint record of an April shower, happy girls and spring flowers.”