A keen observer of modern life, Sloan was influenced by the charismatic Robert Henri but quickly developed into a highly original artist and major figure connected with The Eight and the Ashcan School of realist painters. Born in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, Sloan had to support his family from a young age but managed to study briefly at the Pennsylvania Academy with Thomas Anshutz. Of the four newspaper reporter-illustrators inspired by Henri to turn to painting, Sloan was the last, after William Glackens, George Luks, and Everett Shinn, to move from Philadelphia to New York. Intimidated by the city initially, he soon acclimated to his new home, finding that New York inspired his strongest paintings and prints. The proximity of his studio to the seedy Tenderloin District particularly affected Sloan, who was fascinated by the life around him, both the action on the streets as well as furtive glimpses into tenement windows.
This image shows the view out of Sloan's Washington Place studio onto Jefferson Market, dominated by the police court tower, also the subject of a number of etchings Sloan executed around the same time. "Jefferson Market" demonstrates Sloan's increasing concern with geometrical composition, involving a complex interplay of verticals, diagonals, and triangles that stemmed from his study of modern painting and shows the impact of the 1913 Armory Show on his work.