McSorley's Bar, 1912

  • John Sloan, American, 1871-1951

Oil on canvas

  • Unframed: 26 x 32 in. (66 x 81.3 cm)
  • 32 7/8 x 39 1/4 x 3 in. (83.5 x 99.7 x 7.6 cm)

Founders Society Purchase, General Membership Fund


This celebration of male companionship attests to Sloan’s conviction that the real artist finds beauty in common things. Sloan often stopped at this New York neighborhood saloon, fascinated by the range of humanity he found there. McSorley’s Old Ale House retains this mood and character even today, with one notable change; in 1970, protests by feminists put an end to what had for more than one hundred years been an exclusively male domain.

Signed, lower right: John Sloan

the artist

1924-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

The Armory Show: International Exhibition of Modern Art. Exh. cat., The New York Armory, New York, 1913, no. 907 [as McSorley's Ale House]. Burroughs, Clyde. "Founders Society Presents A John Sloan." Bulletin of the DIA 5, 8 (May 1924): pp. 60-62 (ill. b & w p. 61). Tenth Annual Exhibition of American Art. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1924, no. 29. Gallatin, Albert. John Sloan. New York,1925 (ill.). Hopper, Edward. "John Sloan and the Philadelphians." The Arts 11 (1927): 169. duBois, Guy Pene. John Sloan. New York, 1931, p. 39. Grand Central Galleries. Catalogue. New York,1932, p. 12. Exhibition of American Paintings from 1860 until Today. Exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, 1937, p. 41, no. 179 (pl. 18). John Sloan. Exh. cat., Addison Gallery of Art. Andover, MA, 1938, no. 2. Three Centuries of American Art. Exh. [cat. ?], Museum of Modern Art [organizer]. Jeu de Paume, Paris [installed], May 24-July 31, 1938, no. 157; ehixbition images, accessed on March 9, 2021. Sloan, John. Gist of Art. New York, 1939, pp. 209, 231. Paintings of Life in America. Exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1939, no. 281. Mitchell, Joseph. McSorley's Wonderful Saloon. New York, 1943, p. 15. Artists of the Philadelphia Press. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1945, no. 59. American Painting from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1946, no. 194. Brown, Milton. "The Two John Sloans." Art News 50, 2 (January 1952): p. 26 (ill.). Retrospective Exhibition of John Sloan. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 1952, no. 29. American Painting. Exh. cat., Univeristy of Ohio Art Museum. Athens, OH, 1954, no. 30. Inaugural Exhibition. Exh. cat., Fort Worth Art Center. Fort Worth, TX, 1954, no. 95. 150th Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat., Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Philadelphia, 1955, no. 219. Burroughs, Clyde. Bulletin of the DIA 41, 1 (1961): 8-10 (ill.). Robb, David M. Art in the Western World. New York, 1963, p. 631 (no. 538 ill.). Larkin, Oliver. Art and Life in America. New York, 1964. p. 377. Sloan, John and Bruce St. John, ed. John Sloan's New York Scene. New York, 1965, p. 613. [entry dated 27 March, 1912] Gowans, Alan. The Restless Art. Philadelphia, 1966, p. 386 (no. 49). Green, S. M. American Art, A Historical Survey. New York, 1966, p. 523 (pls. 6, 36). McLanathan, Richard. The American Tradition in the Arts. New York, 1968, p. 397 (ill.). Bruner, Louise. "Outreach Exhibitions Geared To Activate Community Participation." The Toldeo Blade, sec. G. (9 February, 1969): p. 4 (ill.). Myers, B. S., ed. Encyclopedia of Painting. New York, 1970, p. 451 (ill. col. pl.191). Young, Mahonri Sharpe. The Eight. New York, 1973, p. 54 (ill.). Arms, I. George. "The Explicator and American Studies." New America 3, 2 (summer-fall 1977): 6 (ill.). Arts and Crafts in Detroit. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1977, p. 185, no. 241. Bellows: The Boxing Pictures. Exh. cat., The National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1982, p. 28 (fig. 24). "Images of a Lifetime." American Heritage 34, 6 (1983): p.23 (col.ill.). Holcomb, B. Grant. "John Sloan and McSorley's Wonderful Saloon." The American Art Journal 15, 2 (spring 1983): pp. 6-7 (fig. 9, ill.). Bellows: The Boxing Pictures. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1982 (fig. 24). Gustafson, Donna. Art What Thou Eat: Images of Food in American Art. Mt. Kisko, New York, 1991, p. 151 (ill.). Elzea, Rowland. John Sloan's Oil Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne 1. Newark, Delaware, 1991, p. 117 (cat. no. 195). Henshaw, Julia, ed. The Detroit Institute of Arts: A Visitor's Guide. Detroit, 1995, p. 88 (ill.). Cumming, Robert. Art: A Field Guide. New York, 2001, p. 377 (ill.). Crane, Michael. Detroit's Annual Exhibition of American Art: The Foundation of a Collection. On-line resource:, 2005.

According to a deed of gift signed by John Sloan and witnessed by Anna Sloan, April 7, 1924, all rights including copyright were assigned to The Detroit Museum of Arts Founders Society of the city of Detroit Michigan, United States of America

John Sloan, McSorley's Bar, 1912, oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase, General Membership Fund, 24.2.