The Lafayette, 1927
John Sloan (American, 1871–1951)
Oil on canvas; 30 1/2 x 36 1/8 in. (77.5 x 91.8 cm)
Gift of The Friends of John Sloan, 1928 (28.18)
Sloan's canvas portrays the entrance to the Hotel Lafayette, located at 9th Street and University Place in Greenwich Village, which was a popular haunt for the neighborhood's writers and artists, including Sloan. Descending on the the hotel's double awning-covered stairways is a group of genial people who are finishing their dinner conversations as a doorman hails a distinctive New York yellow Checker taxicab. In his 1944 book Gist of Art, Sloan lauded the hotel: "To the passerby not looking for modern glitter, it has always had a look of cheer and comfort, particularly on such a wet evening as this." To assist Sloan and his wife financially, Juliana Force—private secretary and assistant to the heiress Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney—took up a collection among Sloan's friends in 1927 to purchase The Lafayette from him. In January 1928, the group donated the canvas to he Metropolitan Museum, where it became Sloan's second painting to enter the collection after Dust Storm, Fifth Avenue (21.41.2).