Pigeons (1910) by John Sloan

Pigeons - John Sloan - 1910

Artwork Information

ArtistJohn Sloan
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions66 x 81.3 cm (26 x 32 in.)
Art MovementNew Realism
Current LocationMuseum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston

About Pigeons

The artwork titled “Pigeons,” created by the artist John Sloan in 1910, is an oil on canvas that embodies the ethos of New Realism. Measuring 66 by 81.3 cm, this cityscape is a part of the collection at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, acquired through the Charles Henry Hayden Fund. It captures a vignette of urban life characterized by interaction between humans and birds amidst the architectural backdrop of a city.

The artwork exhibits a dense cluster of red-brick buildings under an overcast sky at dusk, with the warm, ambient glow of sunset reflecting off the building facades. In the foreground, pigeons congregate and flutter around a rooftop, where individuals appear to be feeding them. Two figures are seated on the edge of the roof, while another stands looking over one of the parapets. The subdued and nuanced use of light and shadow in the painting creates a sense of depth and volume, contrasting the movement of the birds with the solidity of the urban environment. The scene is both an everyday occurrence and a moment of calm, as the painting captures the essence of early 20th-century city life with its attention to the interaction between man, nature, and the urban environment.

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