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The Matachina


John Sloan (American, 1871 - 1951)

The Matachina is a festival of the Spanish-speaking natives of New Mexico. Occurring during the Christmas season each year, the celebration takes the form of a processional dance. The three main characters, El Monarco (the king or the lord), La Malina (the evil one) and El Abuelo (the ancestor) are pictured at the left hand side of the composition of this painting by John Sloan. While the dance and celebration were part of long-established traditions, Sloan’s presentation of them—from the broadly-handled brushwork to the inclusion of the audience in the foreground of the composition—was decidedly modern.

For Sloan, the American Southwest provided a necessary antidote to the urban qualities of New York City. He visited Santa Fe for the first time in 1919 and returned there for a significant portion of the year for the remainder of his life.

Place object was created: United States

oil paint, canvas

Measurements:    frame height: 25.5 inches    frame width: 29.75 inches    canvas height: 20 inches    canvas width: 24 inches    frame depth: 1.75 inches

Gift of Mrs. Charles Goldman 1954.7

Not currently on view