Today is


Eric Sloane

Eric Sloane -
An American Realist Painter

 


Welcome to The Eric Sloane Website!


"The Covered Bridge" ... approx 30" x 35" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Circa 1955 , Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 40" x 45"

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Some Eric Sloane Artwork featured at the
Michael Fratrich Fine Art Gallery

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"The Saltbox" ... approx 17" x 31" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 25" x 39"

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"The Marsh" ... approx 18" x 24" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 25" x 31"

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"Long Island Farm" ... approx 18" x 24" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 25" x 31"

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"Alto Cumulous Over Cumulous" ... approx 18" x 24" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 25" x 31"

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"Peak Season" ... approx 16" x 22" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 23" x 29"

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"Cloudscape" ... approx 47" x 40" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 53" x 46"

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"Covered Bridge"
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"Dawn Patrol" ... approx 14" x 17" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 19" x 22"

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"March" ... approx 12" x 16" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 20" x 24"

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"Untitled(The Relic)" ... approx 16" x 12" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 23" x 19"

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"The Covered Bridge" ... approx 30" x 35" Painting in Oil by Eric Sloane
Circa 1955 , Original Frame, Framed Dimensions - 40" x 45"

Contact Gallery for Price



 

Do you have Eric Sloane Artwork you'd like to sell? Contact the Gallery
now to discuss consigning your Artwork!


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"WinterSunset"




Now - More About Eric Sloane!


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Eric Sloane Biography

Eric Sloane was born, Everard Jean Hinrichs on February 27, 1905 in New York City, New York, to a well-to-do family. Early on, he took up an interest in art, spending many boyhood hours with neighbor and noted font inventor, Gaudy (Gaudy Type). From Gaudy, at an early age, he learned to hand paint letters and signs.

Some of his first clients included aviation pioneers flying out of Roosevelt Field, Long Island. Many of those flyers insisted he paint the identifying marking on their planes. In exchange for teaching him to paint, Wiley Post himself, taught the young Hinrichs to fly. After his first flight the young man fell in love with clouds and the sky, themes that would be central to his work for the rest of his life. Among his early clients was Amelia Erhardt, who bought his first cloud painting. Said to be the finest cloud painter of his generation, his largest cloud painting graces an entire wall of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

After a falling out with his family, young Sloane ran away at age fourteen to become an itinerant sign painter. He worked his way across America, painting signs on barns, buildings and stores, all the time gathering images of a country in expansion. He had many interesting adventures. One of his most notable stays was with the Taos Pueblo Indian Tribe, just north of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A prolific member of the Hudson River School of painting, it is generally accepted that Eric Sloane was an artistic genius. Over his lifetime Eric Sloane wrote thirty eight books. It is estimated that he created nearly 15,000 paintings over his lifetime, mostly oil on masonite. He painted one almost every day, often before lunch, striving to do better than the day before. Later in his life, he bought back or traded for some of his earlier work, which he destroyed by fire, contending it was inferior.

While restoring a Connecticut farmhouse in the early 1950's he began to identify with the Early American settlers. He first moved to the Lake Candlewood area, then to Merryall, CT near New Milford and in 1956 he moved to Warren, where he kept a home until 1985. It was at a Warren Library book sale that he is said to have discovered Noah Blake's diary, an original account of New England farm life in 1805. With Sloane's unique illustrations and commentary the diary became the framework for Sloane's most successful book, Diary of an Early American Boy: Noah Blake 1805.

In 1975 Sloane built a home in La Tierra near Santa Fe, New Mexico, "Las Nuves" (The Clouds). From these two comfortable residences, "Mr. Americana", spent most of his later life preserving the practical architecture and stoic lives of the first European settlers, in oil paints and in writing.

Fascinated by weather, The Farmer's Almanac and the early American farmer's ability interpret "weather signs", Sloane is credited with being the first television weatherman, having come up with the idea of having farmers from all over New England call in their weather observations to a Dumont, New York TV station where they could be broadcast to the regional audience. He penned several useful books on the subject.

Eric Sloane is also credited with being the foremost authority on Early American rural architecture and Early American tools. His many books of paintings and drawings, and especially his "A Museum of Early American Tools", are considered the most important historical source works on the subjects. The Sloane Stanley Museum in Kent, Connecticut houses Sloane's own personal collection of Early American tools, as well as an exact replica of his painting studio. "A Reverence for Wood" is an invaluable resource to scholars of old growth timber in New England.

In his seminal Americana work, "Spirts of '76", he published his famous distillation of his philosophy,"Declaration of Self Dependence", a harbinger of the renewed concept of personal responsibility in 2nd millennium.

Shortly before the release of his last book, "Eighty", on his way to meet his wife for lunch, Eric died instantly of a heart attack in New York, on March 5th, 1985, on the steps of the Plaza Hotel. Friends say it was the only time he was ever late. He is buried in Kent, Connecticut at the Sloane Stanley Museum.

Sloane was married a total of five times. Little is known by this biographer of his first four wives. His last and longest life partner, Miriam Francis Alicia Carman, "Mimi", born Brussels May 8, 1925, lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Eric's spirit lives on today as if he's determined to keep the invincible Early American Spirit alive. One has only to read one of his books or view his paintings to be touched by his unfathomable human compassion.






Winter Farm Scene by Michael Fratrich

 







The Influence of Eric Sloane
by Michael Fratrich


Hello, I am Michael Fratrich. I would like to thank you for finding this posting, and for your desire to learn about Eric Sloane's influence on my motivations as an artist. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome all of the fans and admirers of the artist Eric Sloane. I too share a reverence for Sloane. His ability and philosophy have inspired generations of men, each celebrating his legacy differently according to their want and means. In this respect I am no different, advancing the legacy of Eric Sloane's influence through my own artistic means.

Eric Sloane and Michael Fratrich
Michael Fratrich
Eric Sloane and Michael Fratrich as a young boy, at one of the many Eric Sloane Days Fratrich attended in New York's Sugar Loaf Village.
Michael Fratrich today, Pennsylvaniia & New England's premier painter of Farmscapes, Covered Bridges, and the Rural Landscape.


It may be oddly stated that my relationship with Eric Sloane began prior to my birth. My parents were active and long-standing fans of the artist. Although they could never afford to purchase his paintings, they made a pilgrimage to every Sloane exhibit or ‘Sloane festival’ of the day. Additionally, my father worked all his life for a book publishing company. His contacts there provided an avenue for him to locate and purchase every Sloane book ever published. He enthusiastically awaited new releases and brought them all along on our family outings to Sloane events to be personally signed by the artist.

Sloane’s books were kept around the house and I am told by my parents that they were the ones I would reach for as a child. Though I could not yet read, the pictures mesmerized me. I am certain that my mother, caring for four children within four years of each other in age, welcomed my quiet moments thumbing through Sloane’s books. Nevertheless, she did find time to scold me if I bent the pages or mistreated the bindings. I am told that I caused quite a ruckus when my ‘Sloane privileges’ were revoked for bad behavior. Due to my unintentional mistreatment of these books as a child, my father resorted to purchasing several copies of all new Sloane publications - several for him to preserve, and one for me. I think my father won out in the end as his complete autographed collection of every Sloane book is worth a pretty penny today.

During my childhood I often spent countless hours entertaining myself with a pencil and paper or pen and ink. I drew firemen, dragons, army figures, birds, Conan the Barbarian, and all the assorted topics that little boys draw. But the renderings I most enjoyed drawing were those depicting farm scenes and covered bridges - just like Eric Sloane drew. But how is that possible? Seriously, how could a five year old or even a ten year old claim with credibility that renderings of such subject matter be his favorite drawings? I have simply reasoned the following. Those drawings elicited the most favorable response from the only audience I had; my mother and father. They were predisposed to admiring that type of art from their reverence for Sloane’s work. My mother, who recognized an ability in me from the day I learned how to hold a pencil and put it to paper, offered constant praise, encouragement, and support. How I enjoyed the attention and affirmation I was already seeking as a young artist! And so my pen seemed to flow naturally in the direction of Americana renderings - just like Sloane’s.

I must also add, however, that my exposure to the farm scene most certainly did not begin and end with Eric Sloane alone. My family roots on both sides are directly descended from Pennsylvania farm country. How many journeys did we take packed to the hilt in old ‘Betsy’ (my father’s name for the family station wagon) traveling through Bucks County and Lancaster County to visit family and/or on day trips. Worlds of farm scenes passed me by in reverse. (My seat in the station wagon was always the pop up seat in the far rear facing the wrong direction). How I tried to shout over my brother and sisters and grandma, “Look ma! There goes another Sloane barn! There goes another Sloane barn!” “Yeah, that’s a good one!” she’d say. “Why don’t you draw that one!” I do not know how many wire bound steno notebooks that my dad brought home from work I filled with my own renderings of a backwards and beautiful roadside America.

American Farmscape by Michael Fratrich
Maple Sugar Time by Michael Fratrich

Oh the places we’d stop along the way! Such memories! Back before my mother’s illness when she could still walk, she would direct my father to pull over along the side of the road, always near the end of one day’s trip as I remember. Dad would stop along the outpost of some long abandoned field. My mother would exit the station wagon to begin scavenging for some rare field flower or cattail or some sort of growth I always considered to be weeds, but she’d make the most beautiful dried flower arrangements from them. “You don’t think the farmer would mind my taking a few of these, do you?” she’d ask my dad. “No ...I don’t think so...” he’d say, caring only for her happiness. Meanwhile, while my mother scavenged and my siblings slept exhausted from a long day driving about, I would find my way to the abandoned wagon shed or other outbuilding, if there was one, to marvel at the structure and ‘to see what the pickens was.’

On one occasion I distinctly remember the most beautiful fragrance on the air, and a little tiny building nearby. Even as a young child, I felt as though I could manage such a structure. My investigation quickly revealed a contrary aroma as I stepped inside. As soon as I saw the large round hole on the only seat in the place, I quickly put together that I had entered an old ‘necessary house.’ And I am proud to report that the plumbing worked just fine! I believe that it was through the writing of Sloane that I later learned how Early American farmers would strategically place pleasantly aromatic plantings around the outhouse. Their reasons were obvious. And I remember being very content with myself for my ability to recall my own experience as proof.



Paterfamilias by Michael Fratrich


“M-i-c-h-a-e-l-!” “Let’s go!” my dad would call me back when my mother had gathered enough treasure. He’d never let me take any of my ‘pickens’ with me, if I had any. I cannot tell you why I felt such euphoria after these excursions. Perhaps it is because as a child I was proud to be the only one still awake with the adults during the fading light of an exhausted day. Perhaps even as a child, my burgeoning artistic sensitivities recognized the sanctity of such a pure experience. Whatever the reason, I was always sad to see the day end. But when I made my way into the backwards seat of old Betsy for the journey home, it was over. My mom and dad were too far away to talk to over my sleeping siblings - and I’m sure they had things they wanted to discuss. And anyway, I was always quite busy in my own regard. What the hell are those accursed porcupine type pods that seem to be able to navigate their way under the cuff of your longpants and crowd the area around your ankles and shoelaces with their spiny barbs? Is this infection found in every abandoned field in the universe? Seems so! It would always take at least 45 minutes to remove all the needles from my clothing - and that’s if I still had enough light in the rumble seat to do so. On occasion, I was forced to coordinate my efforts with the fleeting light of rhythmically passing streetlamps. And even when I was sure I’d removed every barb, it still felt like I hadn’t. It was a high price to pay at the time, but my god what I would give to endure the same suffering if I could just go back one more time - watch my mother walk about on her own, investigate an old outbuilding or scour an abandoned field with her seeking treasures and pickens!    As I sit here and write, my gut wrenches with the torment and futility of my own hopeless desire. My mother will never walk again. And we will never again share such an experience. But what I can do, and have done, and will continue to do is make durable recollections of these past experiences in oils. It is my way of stepping back impossibly into time to relive the halcyon days of my youth. And I cannot help the fact that my exposure to the artist Eric Sloane since earliest childhood has so much to do with how I now format my desire to paint these recollections. I was affixed a ‘Sloane lens’ shortly after birth - if you will. Out of my control. I probably thought everyone saw things the way Sloane did, the way I did. How would a boy in my circumstance conceive otherwise?


(Title Protected) by Michael Fratrich

I do not know what chemical processes in the brain control the intake of information, process it, and send it out through the artist, paintbrush in hand standing at the easel. But I do know this, my ‘Sloane lens’ largely governed my initial processes at the beginning of my artistic career. Somehow or other, as a child - and without even knowing what I was doing, I must have reverse engineered a great deal of Sloane renderings and linked their components to the real life farms and fields and fence posts, etc. that I experienced. Then, when I represented these subjects in oils myself, my brain followed the same path back to produce my Original Oil Paintings.

I realize that many Sloane fans are very protective of their beloved Sloane. And I am one of them. And we demand accountability should someone trespass upon his sacred ground. So I prefer to operate under complete transparency and acknowledge the influence that Sloane had on me. My reasons for painting are uniquely my own; and I am happy to share them with whomever cares to hear tell. I acknowledge the influence that Sloane had on me in the early stage of my development as a painter. And I also acknowledge that my own natural progression as a successful developing artist is moving me past my 'Sloane phase'. So be it. I will forever be grateful for Sloane's effect on me, and I am content with it, such as it is.






My 'Knowing' Eric Sloane

Eric Sloane and Michael Fratrich

Eric Sloane and I at one of his last
'Sugar-Loaf Village' shows before his death.

Eric Sloane made himself so accessible to his admirers that everyone seems to have 'known' him. And so regarding my knowing Eric Sloane personally, I will say that I came to know him only from seeing him often enough at his own events (book signings, painting shows, the annual Eric Sloane Day in Sugarloaf Village, etc.) for him to claim to recognize me by sight at subsequent events. I often requested critiques from him of my early pen and ink renderings. I’ve since learned from his writings how much he hated that - and I’ve often wondered if he was referring to his experiences with me!    I was not aware of it at the time because I was only a boy and so could not conceive being a nuisance, but now I am certain that he exercised a tolerance for me that he surely would not have afforded an adult. I had great luck with him on occasions, and much less on others, due to his variable temperament.


Sloane encouraged me to reproduce his images ‘If it made me happy,’ he said once. But I must say I was just a boy at the time, and I do not think he knew then I would become the best “Sloane school” artist in the country, even if I do say so myself!  :)  As far as him teaching me personally, Sloane did not believe that true art could be taught and so never had a student. He believed that true art was born of vision, not in hand skills. And so learned technique could neither produce true art nor an artist of renown; at most - only picture painters. And now I must confess that I do not know if I am stating his beliefs or mine. And therein is a commonality I share with Sloane.

Since earlier than I can remember, access to his books, illustrations, writings, shows, paintings, etc, all contributed to formatting my own artistic vision. My parents tell me his books were the only ones I would flip through as a child - before I could even read them. Suffice it to say that I share a portion of his vision which he himself inadvertently developed in me.

Sloane did write one ‘how to’ book regarding painting. But to my recollection it has mostly to do with proper coloring and composition based on his knowledge of meteorology. Any artist having read this book may claim to have been instructed by Sloane. But my instruction from Sloane is far too vast a topic to completely relay here. I could easily do a book on it. I have catalogued much of Sloan’s advise, comments, instruction, etcetera, regarding the production of true art as he saw it. Much of it is coincidental on his part, and not intended as instruction. It is a comment of his that slipped out in chapter one of his first book and was inadvertently followed up on 45 years later in the middle of his 35th book, or possibly it is information I gleaned from a quote of his in an article about him in a 1974 Americana magazine, and so on. There is also much about Sloane’s work I have learned from him that not only did he never intended to teach, but he never even spoke. For example, my father’s and my book collection numbers in the many thousands - mostly antique and mostly regarding Americana. These are the same books that Sloane occasionally used during his lifetime as a source of inspiration for his paintings. During extremely extensive research while writing a book on Sloane, I have located black and white photos in these antique books that he used to produce paintings directly from. Locating an image of his completed painting in color derived from these black and white photos has allowed me to map and study his thought process as an artist. I have examined his motive to use color, set mood, produce contrast, adjust light, make purposeful compositional changes, etc. to name just a few things, and I’ve distilled them to painting theory. I have taken from Sloane that which I have extracted for myself, and have discarded from Sloane all I have disagreed with. And that is the extent to which I have taken instruction from Sloane.



I cannot accurately estimate the hours I spent matching old photos to Sloane's paintings, and I grant that it may be difficult to convince Sloane fans that he even painted from photos as he claimed to paint from memory, mostly. Nevertheless, I have a plethora of rock solid proof and my research evidence is irrefutable. I do believe that my desire (sickness) to ‘know why to know how’ has facilitated my ability to ‘map the genius’ of Sloane, and I consider myself a foremost authority on his painting technique and philosophy. After all, I can produce a 'Sloane' painting with great facility.

Rather than publishing my findings on Sloane's technique and ability to compose worthy paintings, I feel that I serve Sloane’s legacy better by being the best painter I can be. And, in fact, my own technique has now moved beyond Sloane's direct painting methods to my own indirect painting methods, which Sloane seldom (if ever) used. Currently, I use Sloane inspired technique to produce small architectural 'studies' in preparation of larger more elaborate works. However, should I ever feel the urge to paint large works using Sloane inspired methods, I most certainly would!

In closing, I would like to say that I am honord to contribute as a participant in the legacy of Sloane. One theme did he express continually during his lifetime as a writer and painter and historian, and that was his wish to increase the awareness of our Early American Heritage. Through me, Sloane has succeeded, as I have taken up a portion of his vision and made it my own. I am expressly what he hoped to create. I am satisfied with my own bona-fides, and I am grateful for the opportunity to extend his legacy through my own artistic vision. Thank you Eric Sloane for initiating my course as a successful American Artist!   ...Michael Fratrich


Henry VIII by Michael Fratrich




Michael Fratrich

The Artist - Michael Fratrich




Michael Fratrich Paintings are available
in Manchester Vermont at
Tilting at Windmills Gallery
and also at

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Fine Art Gallery

7 Lambert Lane
Lambertville NJ 08530
802-558-2608

www.newhopeartgallery.com



Oakfield Pasture by Michael Fratrich

 

 












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