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Helen Farr Sloan

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Name  Helen Sloan

Role  Artist
Helen Farr Sloan imageinvaluablecomhousePhotosRachelDavisFineAr
Died  December 13, 2005, Wilmington, Delaware, United States
Spouse  John French Sloan (m. 1944–1951)
Education  Art Students League of New York
Books  Gist of Art, John Sloan in Santa Fe, The Life and Times of John Sloan
People also search for  John French Sloan, Anna Maria Wall, James Dixon, Henrietta Sloan

Helen Farr Sloan (24 February 1911 – 13 December 2005) was a patron of the arts, educator, accomplished artist and the second wife of artist John Sloan.

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For over fifty years, Helen Farr Sloan quietly created a remarkable profile as an American philanthropist. Following the 1951 death of her husband, John Sloan, one of the most famous American artists of the twentieth century, Helen organized the artist’s estate and turned it into an philanthropic instrument to serve local, regional, national, and international arts constituencies. She was particularly known for her support for women entering the fields of art history and museum studies.



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Farr was born in New York City. She was the daughter of Dr. Charles Farr, a New York surgeon, and Helen Woodhull Farr. She graduated high school from the prestigious Brearley School for Girls in 1929. Her parents wanted her to attend Bryn Mawr College, but she knew that her interests lay in the arts and a less structured future. She took anatomy classes at Cornell University Medical College and studied weaving, pottery, metalwork, wood carving and jewelry making at the Craft Students League. At sixteen, Helen Farr enrolled in the Art Students League of New York, where she met and studied with John Sloan (1871–1951), who became her lifelong friend and mentor. In the 1930s Helen spent several summers in New Mexico with the Sloans, where she was an active member of the Santa Fe art colony. She was married in 1937 for a brief time to Wyatt Davis, brother of the abstract artist Stuart Davis. In 1944, while Helen Farr was teaching art at the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City, Sloan's first wife, Dolly, died; later that year, Helen's former teacher, forty years her senior, became her husband.

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While her marriage to Sloan lasted only seven years (1944–1951), Helen Farr Sloan’s devotion to art was a lifelong commitment. After Sloan’s death, she helped to organize his well-received posthumous retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art and returned to her teaching career and to painting. She also spent her remaining years supporting research about her husband and American art history and working overseeing the distribution of his estate. The contents of his studio and his wide-ranging library became a treasure trove for philanthropic giving. The recipients of her largesse include the University of Delaware, Sewell C. Biggs Museum in Dover, Delaware, Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, Boston Film and Video Foundation, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Katonah Museum of Art in New York and the New-York Historical Society. Helen Farr Sloan’s own paintings are held in private and public collections, including the Delaware Art Museum and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

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Beginning in 1961, and continuing throughout her life, Helen Farr Sloan nurtured a special relationship with the Delaware Art Museum. Because of Helen Farr Sloan’s gifts and scholarship, the Delaware Art Museum received more than 5,000 works including the preeminent collection of the work of John Sloan with virtually every aspect of his career represented. This has made the Delaware Art Museum the leading repository for the study of John Sloan, who was noted for his realistic images of turn-of-the-century New York City. In the early 1960s, she also taught art part-time at Regis High School in Manhattan.


Helen Farr Sloan died at the age of 94 in Wilmington, Delaware.


Helen Farr Sloan Wikipedia