Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Italian. Well, sort of.

New York City, 

I recently walked over to 139 West 10th Street in order to see where the Italian restaurant in John Sloan’s 1912 painting Renganeschi’s Saturday Night had once been located. Sloan, who lived  two blocks away and is known to have eaten there, was joined on at least one occasion by Robert Henri, a fellow artist of the Ashcan School. The artists and writers in Greenwich Village were fascinated by their neighbors, often using the social life of the city as the subject of their art.1 In this painting, Sloan depicts three young women on a girls’ night out, a scene so familiar that updating the clothing style would bring it into the present day. In fact, it was fascinating to see that there was still a restaurant in the old building, and that things had not changed all that much.