Prior to the widespread availability of the camera, many newspapers had artists on their staff that captured news at the scene. Painter John French Sloan began his professional career working for the "Philadelphia Inquirer" to which he also contributed decorative cartoons and drawings.
During this period he enrolled in evening classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he met classmate William Glackens. It was in 1892 that Sloan first met Robert Henri and the two began to discuss and debate their own theories about art and method which would serve as the foundation for the Ashcan school of art.
Sloan married in 1901 and relocated to New York in 1904, a short while later Henri and several other painter friends from Philadelphia were all in New York as well and the group decided to stage a rebellious exhibition of their own. Calling themselves "The Eight" they were denying the genteel imagery favored by the National Academy of Design and the art world in general. Instead they worked to record realistic moments from everyday life.
Sloan would also exhibit in the notable Armory Show of 1913 which was the first organized exhibition of modern art in America.
By 1914 Sloan was offered a teaching position at the Art Students League, and by 1919 he had discovered Santa Fe, New Mexico where he spent four months each year for the rest of his life.
He would teach for many years and author the book the "Gist of Art" in 1929. He would also continue to exhibit and participate in many associations, groups and clubs.
His works are in many important private and public collections, including the Warner Collection, the Anschutz Collection, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, City.