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Sloane, Joseph C.

    Full Name: Sloane, Joseph C.

    Other Names:

    • Joseph Curtis Sloane

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1909

    Date Died: 1998

    Place Born: Pottstown, Montgomery, PA, USA

    Place Died: Chapel Hill, Orange, NC, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Career(s): educators


    Professor and chair of the Art Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1950-1974). Sloane was born to Joseph Curtis and Julia Moss (Sloane). He was raised in Pasadena, CA, and attended Princeton University, receiving his B. A. in 1931, and M.F.A. in 1934 (Princeton’s highest art-history degree at the time). The same year he married Marjorie Merrill. Sloane taught at Princeton and Rutgers Universities before joining the faculty of Bryn Mawr, succeeding Georgiana Goddard King as Department Chair in 1938. During World War II, Sloane served with the United States Navy in the Pacific theater, 1943-1946, rising to lieutenant commander. He wrote his dissertation under the distinguished medievalist Charles Rufus Morey in 1949, French Painting, 1848-1870: Artists, Critics and Traditions. In 1950 the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recruited him to establish a department of art history of national rank. This he did, increasing the faculty from seven to twenty during his tenure. In 1951 his dissertation was published as a book by Princeton University Press. In 1952 he was awarded a senior Fulbright research grant. Sloane was elected president of the College Art Association in 1956. He became the director of the Ackland Museum of Art, the art gallery at the University, in 1958. In 1962 he was appointed as a trustee of the North Carolina Museum of Art. He retired as chair of the art department in 1974 and as director of the museum in 1978. He died at Carol Wood Retirement Community, Chapel Hill, at age 89. Sloane’s papers reside at the University of North Carolina Library, Southern History Collection. The UNC art library is named in his honor, a named professorship was established in his honor in 1998. Sloane is credited for taking a small art history department and building it into a faculty of national reputation. He raised funds for the buildings that house the present art complex (Hanes Art Center) and the art library which bears his name. As an art historian, he wrote the text used in many classes documenting Realism and Impressionism. In later years his work was overtaken and criticized by social art historians, Albert Boime among others, as ignoring academic artists and reducing their accomplishments to stereotype.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation] French Painting, 1848-1870: Artists, Critics and Traditions. Princeton University, 1949, revised and published as, French Painting Between the Past and the Present. Princeton Monographs in Art and Archaeology 27. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951; French Nineteenth Century Oil Sketches, David to Degas: an Exhibition in Honor of the Retirement of Joseph Curtis Sloane Chapel Hill, NC: The William Hayes Ackland Memorial Art Center, 1978; Paul Marc Joseph Chenavard: Artist of 1848. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1962; “On the Resources of Non-objective Art.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 19 no. 4 (Summer 1961) 419-24; “Delacroix’s Cleopatra.” Art Quarterly 24 no. 2 (Summer 1961): 124-8; “David, Robespierre, and ‘The Death of Bara’.” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 6 no. v74 (September 1969): 143-60; “Paradoxes of Monet [paintings in the Musée Marmottan, Paris] Apollo 103 (June 1976): 494-501; “Religious Influences on the Art of Jean-Louis Forain.” The Art Bulletin 23 (September 1941) 199-206; “Paul Chenavard’s Cartoons for Mural Decoration of the Pantheon.” The Art Bulletin 33 (December 1951): 240-58.


    Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, p. 59 mentioned; “New President of the College Art Association.” Art Journal 15 no. 3 (1956): 254-5; [obituaries:] Southeastern College Art Conference Review 13 no. 3 (1998): 219-220; Corbin, Julia. “Joseph Curtis Sloane, 89, Art Historian Emeritus.” News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) April 14, 1998, p. B6.


    "Sloane, Joseph C.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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